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Office of the Health Ombudsman opens

The Office of the Health Ombudsman becomes Queensland’s single point of entry for health service complaints

The Office of the Health Ombudsman is now the single point of entry for health service complaints in Queensland. Healthcare consumers and providers will benefit from a simpler and more transparent, accountable and streamlined health service complaints management system.

As part of the changes, all health service complaints are now managed by the Office of the Health Ombudsman, with defined timeframes placed on all affected parties to ensure matters are resolved as quickly as possible.

Queensland’s first Health Ombudsman, Leon Atkinson-MacEwen, said he was committed to providing a fair, impartial and transparent complaint management service to Queenslanders.

“With this new health complaints system, Queenslanders can be confident complaints will be dealt with expeditiously and appropriately, and in accordance with the highest levels of transparency and accountability.”

The new streamlined system makes it easier for individuals and organisations to lodge complaints against public, private and not-for-profit health service providers in Queensland – including hospitals and GP clinics – as well as individual registered and unregistered practitioners, such as doctors, dentists, nutritionists and masseuses.

The Office of the Health Ombudsman has been established as a statutory authority under the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 and is required by law to act independently, impartially and in the public interest.

Mr Atkinson-McEwen said, “I want Queenslanders to know when a complaint is lodged with us it will be taken seriously, examined thoroughly and resolved as quickly as possible.

“And in situations where we are unable to assist, we explain why and where possible suggest alternative actions.”

He said it was important people know they can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Health Ombudsman if they have an unsatisfactory experience with a Queensland health service provider.

“A lot of people don’t like to complain, but it is important that they do, so we can identify areas for improvement and prevent similar issues from happening to others.

“Our team of experienced staff are trained to explain to complainants what is required of them and will assist every step of the way.”

These changes see the Office of the Health Ombudsman assuming responsibility for certain functions previously performed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The Office of the Health Ombudsman takes over responsibilities from the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC), which ceased operations on 30 June.

Mr Atkinson-MacEwen said complaints that were active with the HQCC as of midnight on June 30 have been transitioned to the Office of the Health Ombudsman for appropriate action.

media@oho.qld.gov.au 0427 483 656