Notification complaints

Most complaints we receive are complaints to the Ombudsman about the handling of a notification by Ahpra or a National Board

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The role of notifications

The notification process is one of the important ways that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the National Boards are informed of potential risks to patient safety.

Anyone can make a notification to Ahpra about a registered health practitioner if they have a concern about the health, conduct or performance of the practitioner.

Ahpra gathers information about the notification and presents it to the relevant National Board. The National Board then decides whether it needs to take regulatory action to protect the public. Examples of regulatory action include putting conditions on the practitioner’s registration (such as restricting which medications they prescribe) or cautioning the practitioner.

Common notification complaints

Most of the complaints we receive are Ombudsman complaints about the handling of a notification by Ahpra or a National Board. 

From July 2018 to June 2023, over half of all complaints to the Ombudsman each financial year related to the handling of a notification. In 2022–23 notification-related complaints accounted for 65 per cent of all complaints to the Ombudsman.

Complainants about the notification process often include concerns that:

  • the National Board did not consider all relevant information when making decisions about the notification
  • Ahpra or the National Board misunderstood the notification or did not address all issues raised in the notification
  • Ahpra did not adequately explain the reasons for the National Board’s decisions
  • Ahpra’s communication was inadequate, particularly in relation to updates about the progress of the notification
  • Ahpra did not progress the notification in a timely manner
  • Ahpra did not provide information about its internal complaint-handling process to a person who expressed dissatisfaction
  • Ahpra did not respond to a complaint about the handling of a notification in accordance with its policy.

Find out more about common complaint outcomes

Find out more about how to make a complaint to the Ombudsman or Commissioner

Who makes notification complaints

It is free to make a complaint about the notification process to us and we welcome complaints from anyone who has concerns about the handling of a notification.

Most complaints about the handling of a notification are made by the person who made the notification (the notifier). We also receive a significant number of complaints from health practitioners about the handling of a notification that was made about them.

We know it can be stressful for both the notifier and the health practitioner who are involved in a notification.

If you need support during the notification process, there are services available.

Find out more about helplines and support services

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call on 1300 795 265