/About us

About us

We are the one place to contact if you have a complaint or notification about a health service provided in Queensland.

The Office of the Health Ombudsman exists to protect the health and safety of the people of Queensland.

Who we are

The Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) is the place to contact if you have a complaint or notification to make about a health service provided in Queensland.

The OHO is an independent body established under the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 (the Act).

Health Ombudsman - Dr Lynne Coulson Barr OAM

Dr Coulson Barr OAM commenced as Health Ombudsman on 15 January 2022. Dr Coulson Barr has a distinguished career in leadership roles in statutory complaint, oversight and regulatory bodies. She is recognised nationally and internationally for her specialist expertise in designing and implementing accessible and inclusive complaint and review processes, as well as driving approaches to improving the safety and quality of services.

Dr Coulson Barr has led the establishment of specialist statutory complaints schemes, including as Victoria’s inaugural Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, Deputy Victorian Disability Services Commissioner, and as Acting Complaints Commissioner and Branch Head Operations with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. She also served as President of the Victorian Intellectual Disability Review Panel, and as a member of various state and federal tribunal and statutory bodies, including the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Her qualifications include a doctorate of law, with research on statutory conciliation, masters and bachelor of social work, graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and accredited mediator/conciliator under the National Mediator Accreditation System.

Dr Coulson Barr’s contributions to public sector leadership and the community have been recognised by a number of awards including a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2020, the Top 50 Public Sector Women Victoria in 2018, the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2014 and the Weinstein International Fellowship for dispute resolution in 2013.


What we do

Our main objectives are to:

  • protect the health and safety of the public
  • promote professional, safe and competent practice by health practitioners
  • promote high standards of service delivery by health service organisations
  • maintain public confidence in the management of complaints and other matters relating to the provision of health services.

To do this, we:

  • receive and manage health service complaints
  • decide what action to take in relation to those complaints and, in certain instances, take immediate action to protect the safety of the public
  • monitor the health, conduct and performance functions of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and 15 health practitioner National Boards
  • provide information about minimising and resolving health service complaints
  • report on our performance and on Queensland’s health service complaints statistics
  • protect public safety and health
  • promote fair and transparent health service complaints management
  • work with Ahpra to regulate registered health practitioners in Queensland.

For more information on what we do, see What happens when you make a complaint.


Working with Ahpra

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) is a national agency with offices in each state and territory. Ahpra manages the registration and accreditation of all registered health practitioners in Australia.

The types of health service currently covered by registration under Ahpra are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Medical Radiation Practice
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Paramedicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology.

In Queensland, the OHO and Ahpra work together to oversee and regulate registered health practitioners in relation to matters concerning their health, conduct and performance. The OHO and Ahpra work together under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland) 2009 (the National Law).

The OHO is the first place to contact for all health service complaints in Queensland. This includes notifications about registered practitioners. OHO receives these complaints and may refer the matters to Ahpra and the 15 health practitioner National Boards.


Governance and oversight

The Health Ombudsman has powers under the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 (the Act).

Under the Act, the Minister for Health oversees the administration of the health service complaints management system and the performance of the Health Ombudsman, as well as the performance of Ahpra and the National Boards in relation to registered health practitioners in Queensland. The Minister keeps the Queensland Parliament and the community informed of these matters.

The Act provides for statutory oversight over the OHO’s operations by parliamentary committee. The Health Ombudsman meets with the parliamentary committee at regular intervals throughout the year.

Certain decisions taken by the Health Ombudsman can also be reviewed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Corporate information

For more information about the work we do, read our strategic plan and cultural competence and engagement plan.

We publish performance data and complaint statistics every month, in addition to our annual reports.


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