Complaints system stacked against confused consumers

Medical complaint handling in NSW is currently the remit of the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), an independent state government body that investigates and prosecutes complaints against healthcare providers.

On Monday, HCCC commissioner Kieran Pehm told a NSW parliamentary inquiry into complaint handling in the state there was a long way to go to create the "perfect" complaints process with the health system.

Mr Pehm said some consumers were confused about how to access complaint mechanisms against healthcare providers.

He said some who did manage to lodge complaints felt the system did not respond adequately to them and that the system was biased towards practitioners.

However, he rejected claims made in one submission to the inquiry that the HCCC were "bureaucrats who protect their colleagues and peers".

"The HCCC is caught in the middle of this," Mr Pehm told the inquiry.

"The culture that we're trying to