//Office of the Health Ombudsman 2021-22 annual report tabled

Office of the Health Ombudsman 2021-22 annual report tabled

04 October 2022

A record number of Queenslanders contacted the state’s health service complaints agency during the 2021-22 financial year, Health Ombudsman Lynne Coulson Barr OAM said today.

Dr Coulson Barr said the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) received 13,025 contacts between 1 June 2021 and 30 July 2022— six per cent more than in 2020-21.

The number of health service complaints received (9,619 complaints) was two per cent higher than the previous financial year, while the most frequently cited issues identified in health service complaints were professional performance (31 per cent), professional conduct (12 per cent) and poor communication (11 per cent).

Dr Coulson Barr, who replaced Andrew Brown as the state’s Health Ombudsman in January 2022, identified OHO’s successful rollout of joint consideration processes with Ahpra, continued strong operational performance and stakeholder engagement as key achievements for the year.

“Complaints are a vital window into people’s experiences of health care”, Dr Coulson Barr said.

“As Queensland’s single point of entry for all health service complaints and notifications, the OHO’s effective complaints processes improves both individual outcomes and the safety and quality of health services for the wider community.

“I look forward to building on existing stakeholder relationships as well as seeking broader engagement with organisations and groups to ensure that the OHO is accessible and responsive to the needs of priority population groups and communities throughout Queensland.”

Dr Coulson Barr said the OHO has started work on a new four-year strategic plan which will map out the organisation’s key priorities and performance measures for the coming years.

“Under my leadership I am committed to seeing the OHO build and strengthen our stakeholder relationships across Queensland as well as implement the OHO's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence Engagement Plan and strategies to deliver culturally safe and responsive services for First Nations peoples.

“Maintaining effective collaborative partnerships with Ahpra and the National Boards and other regulatory agencies remains an ongoing priority as we work to ensure the best outcomes for the community.

“Other key areas of focus include implementing a data warehouse to improve our data analysis capability, and enhancing our operational processes and practices to maximise the impact of the OHO’s work and the performance of its functions.”

Dr Coulson Barr said she felt privileged to have the opportunity to build upon the OHO’s existing strong performance and to strengthen the way in which the office works to achieve the key objectives of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013.

Key highlights from the OHO’s 2021-22 annual report include:

  • OHO outperformed on three of its six key performance measures, including: ‘percentage of complaints received and accepted within seven days’ (98 per cent compared with 90 per cent), ‘percentage of complaints assessed within timeframes’ (92 per cent compared with 90 per cent) and ‘percentage of disciplinary matters in which Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decides there is a case to answer’ (100 per cent compared with 90 per cent)
  • health professions that accounted for the highest percentage of complaints received were medical practitioners (57 per cent), nurses (12 per cent) and psychologists (6 per cent)
  • health service organisations that accounted for the highest percentage of complaints were public hospitals (33 per cent), correctional facilities (18 per cent) and medical centres (14 per cent)
  • the percentage of investigations finalised by the OHO within 12 months increased by 7 per cent to 66 per cent in 2021–22.

To download the OHO's 2021-22 annual report go to https://www.oho.qld.gov.au/news-and-updates/annual-reports.