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NSW. Health Care Complaints Commision/ACCC M.O.U.

Joint media release

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, and the Commissioner for the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, Ms Merrilyn Walton, today signed an important Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the two agencies.

"Health and safety issues are regarded as a priority area for the ACCC, since the introduction of competition to the professional sector," Professor Fels said.

"The MOU builds upon the already close relationship between the two organisations," Ms Walton said. "The HCCC is an independent statutory body established in NSW to investigate, review and resolve complaints about health services and facilities and improve standards of health care".

The ACCC has been active in ensuring that advertising for health care services and other conduct by health practitioners do not mislead the public.

For example ACCC staff liaise with the HCCC by referring complaints about health care services, exchanging information about the ACCC's involvement in particular matters and contributing to health care inquiries chaired by the HCC Commissioner.

The proposed agreement will formalise the liaison between the two agencies and will provide for better coordination and cooperation between them with regard to both enforcement and education activities.

Under the Memorandum, the two agencies will refer complaints to the most appropriate agency, exchange information where that is permitted by law and undertake joint responses to problems in the market. For example, the agencies are currently working together to develop a Guide to the promotion of health services and a conference on advertising medical services to be held in October.

Copies of the Memorandum will be available from the ACCC website:

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