Complaints about medical care skyrocket in Wide Bay

COMPLAINTS about medical care in the Wide Bay have skyrocketed, with a 50% increase between 2011 and 2012.

Figures released by the Health Quality and Complaints Commission show it received 158 complaints in 2011 but the number jumped to 238 last year.

Of the complaints lodged, 79 were about the region's hospitals and 69 were about individual doctors.

HQCC chief executive officer Professor Cheryl Herbert said these figures reflected the state-wide trend, which saw an overall increase of 33%.

The Wide Bay accounts for about 6.5% of the total complaints received by the commission.

"Complainants raised concerns about inadequate treatment, where they felt the treatment was inappropriate, insufficient or fell below an acceptable standard," adjunct Prof Herbert said.

"Concerns were also raised about unexpected outcomes or complications and diagnosis."

Prof Herbert said communication issues, usually about a healthcare provider's attitude or manner, concerned patients as well.

"Complaints about public hospitals and medical practitioners also reflect the more complex and higher risk services provided by these organisations and professions," Prof Herbert said.

The rise in complaints has also been partly attributed to increased awareness about the HQCC.

As a result of damning independent reports, which found the current complaints process was "dysfunctional and untimely", Health Minister Lawrence Springborg announced a major restructure of the system that will start in July.

This includes the creation of a new Queensland Health Ombudsman, who will prioritise complaints and decide which authority investigates them.

Complaints on rise

In 2010, the Wide Bay region logged 166 health complaints

In 2011, 158 complaints were registered.

Last year, that number rose to 238.



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