//Health Ombudsman releases annual performance report

Health Ombudsman releases annual performance report

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11 August 2015

The Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) received and finalised thousands of complaints during its first year as Queensland’s health service complaints agency, show figures in its Annual performance report 2014–15.

During 2014–15, the OHO was contacted more than 8000 times and accepted 3109 health service complaints for action, with almost 70 per cent of acceptance decisions being made within seven calendar days.

Professional performance was the main issue raised in complaints (40 per cent), followed by communication (14 per cent) and conduct (13 per cent). Doctors accounted for around 60 per cent of practitioners involved in complaints, while public hospitals made up 47 per cent of organisations subject to a complaint.

Health Ombudsman Leon Atkinson-MacEwen said that, despite the high numbers, he was very happy with the results his office had achieved in only its first year.

“Being a new organisation, it’s difficult to know exactly what will come through the front door, but as the figures show, we have been able to manage the exceptionally high number of matters while still achieving outcomes for parties involved in complaints.”

“For example, out of the 691 local resolutions completed during the year, 88 per cent were resolved, and 76 per cent of the 65 completed conciliations saw parties reach an agreement,” Mr Atkinson-MacEwen said.

One of the new powers available to the Health Ombudsman is the ability to take immediate action to suspend or impose conditions on a practitioner’s registration.

“My primary focus is protecting the health and safety of the public, and immediate action is an important way for me to do this.

“During the year I took immediate registration action against 10 health practitioners and issued 8 interim prohibition orders.”

Mr Atkinson-MacEwen said he was looking forward to the OHO’s second year, and working with staff and key stakeholders in the healthcare sector, to ensure Queenslanders had confidence their health service complaints were handled effectively.

“We will not only continue to protect the health and safety of Queenslanders, but will also work with health service providers to identify improvements in the healthcare system more broadly.

“Our annual performance figures are a credit to the dedicated staff of the office, and provide a sound basis on which to plan for the future and continue to improve the health service complaints system in Queensland.”

The OHO Annual performance report 2014–15 is available at www.oho.qld.gov.au.

Media contact:

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