Rural folk lodge 36% of health complaints

THE number of people living in regional centres who made complaints against healthcare providers and organisations has risen over the past year.

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission annual report, tabled in State Parliament, revealed there were 3419 complaints made about healthcare organisations and individuals in Queensland over the past financial year.

This represented a 5% increase on the previous year.

The most common complaint was concerns about treatment 53%, followed by communication and information problems 17%.

There were 17 sexual misconduct complaints made over the same period.

Grievances received from people living in regional areas accounted for 36% of the total number of complaints.

The report showed a rise in the number of complaints from people living in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Mackay, Wide Bay and the Darling Downs.

It showed a decrease in the number of complaints by people living in Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast compared with the previous year.

Health Quality and Complaints Commission chief executive officer Professor Cheryl Herbert and commissioner Professor Russell Stitz said the organisation recorded a successful outcome for 74% of all complaints.

"We worked hard to improve our client service and complaint management timeframes this year," they said. "In January, we implemented a new conciliation policy to improve our efficiency in managing complaints through this process.

"Our new policy focused on increasing co-operation between parties, working towards achievable outcomes and limiting compensation to out-of-pocket expenses or corrective treatment costs."