//Health Ombudsman given charter to restore complaints confidence

Health Ombudsman given charter to restore complaints confidence

04 June 2013

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg today introduced legislation into Parliament aimed at restoring public confidence in the way complaints about health services and providers are managed in Queensland.

The legislation establishes a Health Ombudsman as the lynchpin of a more accountable complaints management system that will strengthen the way Queensland manages serious allegations against its health practitioners.

Mr Springborg said recent reports had highlighted a dysfunctional health complaints management system alongside the poor performance and lack of oversight of the Queensland Board of the Medical Board of Australia.

“The new Health Ombudsman will receive and act on complaints, deal with systemic issues and oversee the performance of the National Agency and boards in their health, conduct and performance roles,” Mr Springborg said.

“The Ombudsman will also replace the Health Quality and Complaints Commissioner as we move to remove role confusion between different complaints entities.

“It will be the single point of entry for complaints about health services and providers in Queensland.

“This new legislation will also enable us to take immediate action, including suspending or placing conditions on a health practitioner’s registration, where there is a serious risk to the public.

“And last, but by no means least, the new Health Ombudsman will help restore public confidence in the health complaints management system by strengthening its transparency and accountability.”

Other key aspects of the bill include:

  • better oversight of the administration of the health complaints management system by the Minister for Health
  • requirements for the Health Ombudsman to publish regular performance reports on the complaints management system
  • the principle that the health and safety of the public are paramount and must be taken into account by the Health Ombudsman, QCAT and other authorised persons when administering the legislation
  • that it repeals and replaces the Health Quality and Complaints Commission Act 2006 and the Health Practitioners (Disciplinary Proceedings) Act 1999
  • that it amends the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law so that Queensland becomes a ‘co-regulatory jurisdiction’ for the purposes of the National Law. This will not affect the national registration of health practitioners, but enables Queensland to vary how the disciplinary provisions of the National Law apply in Queensland.

Media contact:

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