05 Jan 2017
We note the release on 16 December 2017 of the Queensland Government’s Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee report on their inquiry into the performance of the Health Ombudsman's functions pursuant to section 179 of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013.
We welcome the Committee’s recommendations, including that:
- the Queensland Government investigate the merits of amending the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 to introduce a joint consideration process for health service complaints between the OHO and AHPRA and the National Boards
- the Queensland Government consider options for ensuring that potentially serious professional misconduct matters, which may also raises issues about a health practitioner’s health or performance, are able to be dealt with, as a whole, rather than being split between the OHO and AHPRA and the National Boards
- the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO), AHPRA and the National Boards produce a joint plan, which identifies the information needs of all parties and any barriers to the sharing of information, and sets out an agreed approach for resolving any data issues that prevent the production of nationally-consistent data about health service complaints, and
- the Queensland Government consider whether to introduce legislation to make the Health Ombudsman’s suggested amendments to the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 and the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).
AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher said AHPRA will continue to focus on the importance of working collaboratively with the OHO.
‘For regulation to strengthen public safety, a timely, consistent and effective system for managing complaints about regulated health practitioners is critical.
‘Sharing information in a streamlined and timely way and quickly addressing any data issues as they arise is important to make sure the system works well for the public and practitioners in Queensland and nationally.
‘Much work is already underway with the OHO to achieve just that and build on the regulatory work that we do together to protect the public.
‘The Queensland Government response and any proposed legislative amendments, will be considering fully by AHPRA and National Boards.’