Complaints about certain serious misconduct or corruption involving our staff or the hospital itself can be made directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
The RMH encourages individuals to raise their concerns with IBAC if they are uncomfortable raising their concerns directly with the RMH or if they feel some detrimental action has been, or may be taken against them if they make a complaint.
How to complain
You may complain to our employees or our consumer liaison team about our services generally, and we will try to address your concerns promptly. Find out more about making a complaint.
But if you have a complaint about “improper conduct” (such as serious misconduct or corruption) involving our employees or the hospital itself, please contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) directly.
You should also contact IBAC if you are worried that someone might take some “detrimental action” (such as a reprisal) against you, just because you make such a complaint or are co-operating in an investigation about corruption.
Your complaints to IBAC may be termed Protected Disclosures. Please refer to the Glossary at the end of the document "Protected Disclosure Complaints about Serious Misconduct or Corruption" available below.
Our obligations to you
The Protected Disclosure Act protects you if you genuinely believe your complaint is valid. You must also have reasonable grounds to believe that the information you have supports your complaint.
Melbourne Health, operating as The Royal Melbourne Hospital, is committed to extending the protections under the Act. Indeed, penalties may apply (e.g. fines, imprisonment) to anyone who merely threatens to take detrimental action against you, even if you just intend to make a Protected Disclosure or intend to co-operate with an investigation of a Protected Disclosure.
All our employees are obliged to report to our Chief Executive any allegations you make about detrimental action that affects you or anyone else. They are also required to keep confidential the identity of anyone making a Protected Disclosure; if they do not, they may be liable for criminal penalties (such as fines, imprisonment).
What is not a Protected Disclosure?
Your complaint will not be protected if:
- It is already known by others. That is because it is already in the public domain and has lost its protection
- It is a mere assertion, allegation or conclusion. That is because it must be capable of being investigated
- There are no reasonable grounds to believe that your information supports your complaint.
Who may make a Protected Disclosure and how?
You (alone or with others) may make a Protected Disclosure, but a company cannot. You can make your disclosure to IBAC directly by telephone, in person, in writing (email, ordinary post and personal delivery), or anonymously. But you cannot make a Protected Disclosure by facsimile. You can remain anonymous by using unverifiable email addresses, anonymous phone calls or refuse to identify yourself if you meet IBAC officers. If you make a disclosure on behalf of someone else, then you are the "notifier" and may be protected, but not the other person. That encourages everyone to make proper disclosures.
IBAC will manage your disclosures in accordance with its own guidelines and processes. After its investigation, IBAC must provide you with information about the results of its investigation, including any recommendations and action IBAC will take.
Your protections from liability
You will be protected from various civil and criminal liabilities if your complaint/disclosure is made to IBAC in the proper way. That also includes protection from claims for defamation, or breaches of any legislation that requires confidentiality. You will be protected from the time you make your complaint/disclosure and that protection continues to apply even if IBAC determines that it is not a Protected Disclosure.
But you will not be protected if:
- You knowingly provide false or misleading information
- If you repeat your disclosure to someone other than IBAC
- You tell others that IBAC has decided to investigate or refer your complaint
You will also not necessarily be protected just because you make a disclosure to IBAC – you may remain liable for your own conduct, even when your conduct has been disclosed.
Protecting your identity
Your identity will be protected whether you make an anonymous disclosure (see above), or not. That is because the Protected Disclosure Act imposes strict confidentiality over your identity and your disclosure. Also penalties (e.g. fines, imprisonment) apply for any breach. But note, details of you and your disclosure may be need to be used by IBAC for its investigation. And our employees may need to disclose when required to assist IBAC.
Protecting your complaint
No-one can use the Freedom of Information Act as a way to get a copy of documents from us relating to your Protected Disclosure, or any documents that would likely to lead your identification. We will contact IBAC first, before considering any application made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Loss? If you are injured, or incur a loss or damage from any reprisal for making a disclosure, you may wish to obtain legal advice. The Act sets out remedies that are available to you.
Alternatives to making a Protected Disclosure
You can make other forms of feedback, complaints or concerns on this website.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital Protected Disclosure procedure, available for download below, contains further information.
These procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure they meet the objectives of the Act and accord with IBAC's guidelines.