Complaints about psychologists

Clinical psychologists who are members of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) must follow the highest standards of ethics and performance for the profession.

If you are unhappy with the behaviour of a psychologist, or the standard of care you or someone else has received, you can make a complaint.

How to make a complaint

Step 1

Speak to the psychologist or your GP about your concerns.

Step 2

If you feel that you can’t approach the psychologist directly, or if you’re not satisfied with the psychologist’s response:

In Australia (except NSW)

  • Contact your local State or Territory health complaints commissioner, who is an independent and accessible ombudsman. The commissioners emphasise conciliation in resolving complaints between patients and providers.
  • Alternatively, make a notification to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is responsible for the regulation and accreditation of psychologists in Australia. For instructions on how to make a notification, visit the Psychology Board of Australia website. For assistance, call AHPRA on 1300 419 495 and ask to speak to a Notifications Officer.

In NSW

  • Lodge a complaint with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). The HCCC acts to protect public health and safety by dealing with complaints about health service providers in NSW. For instructions on how to make a complaint, visit the HCCC website. For assistance, call HCCC on 1800 043 159.

Step 3

If you believe you have been treated unfairly by AHPRA, the NSW HCCC or the HDC:

Contact the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman.

 

What can ACPA do?

ACPA does not have the authority to investigate complaints it receives about psychologists.

Instead, we ask you to refer any complaints to the relevant organisation (see above).

 

Checking registration

Like all other health professionals, psychologists must be registered to practise.

You can check that a psychologist is registered:

The Psychology Board of Australia website.

 

Australian health complaints commissioners

AHPRA works with the groups responsible for health complaints in each state and territory.

You may need to contact these organisations for particular types of complaints (for example about access to your health information).

ACT ACT Human Rights Commission

NSW Health Care Complaints Commission

NT Health and Community Services Complaints Commission

QLD Office of the Health Ombudsman

SA Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner

TAS Health Complaints Commissioner

VIC Health Complaints Commissioner

WA Health and Disability Services Complaints Office