If you or your partner or child has suffered injury through birth trauma, you may need support and guidance from a range of different professionals to work through what has happened. Potentially, this could include health professionals (midwife, doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, psychologist, etc), counsellors, as well as legal advisors. This section provides introductory information about receiving legal advice.
Table of Contents
Accessing Health Records
Making a Complaint about a Health professional
You should contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) if you are concerned that:
- a health professional’s behaviour is placing the public at risk;
- a health professional is practising their profession in an unsafe way; or
- a professional’s ability to make safe judgements about their patients might be impaired.
Each State and Territory has a commissioner or health complaints organisation dedicated to receiving healthcare complaints. AHPRA publishes a list of these bodies on its website.
If you are unsure whether you should make a complaint and/or to whom you should make it, you can contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495 to talk it through. Their contact details are published on their website.
In New Zealand, contact the Health and Disability Commissioner on (0800) 112 233, or their website. You can also contact the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service for advice. They will be able to talk you through how to raise your concerns, including the possibility of making a complaint to the relevant professional council.
New Zealand has a no-fault compensation scheme. See the Accident Compensation Corporation on their website for more information.
A solicitor should be able to investigate a potential medical negligence claim. In Australia, you can check the Law Society websites for your relevant State or Territory to identify a law firm practicing in the area:
- Law Society of the ACT
- Law Society of NSW
- Law Society Northern Territory
- Law Society of South Australia
- Law Society of Tasmania
- Law Institute of Victoria
- Law Society of WA
The Australasian Birth Trauma Association does not endorse or recommend specific law firms.
How much will it cost me to get legal advice?
This is an issue you should discuss with a potential solicitor before retaining them to act on your behalf. It is important that you find a lawyer who is open and upfront with you about the basis on which they plan to charge you, including such issues as:
- whether they are acting on a “no win, no fee” basis;
- who will pay for disbursements along the way;
- who carries the risks;
- what rates they charge at; and
- any special conditions that apply.