Health Minister Lawrence Springborg
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg john mccutcheon

Health complaints up 28% last financial year

THE Queensland health complaints watchdog will continue to plead for extra funding to combat the unexpected demand that has left the organisation with a seven-week waiting list.

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission experienced a 28% increase in complaints last financial year, placing considerable pressure on the body's staff.

The commission's chief executive Cheryl Herbert told an estimates hearing in Parliament there were 49 health complaints on a seven-week waiting list.

"It's becoming evident that the waiting times are extending and that does reduce client satisfaction," she said.

"At the moment we are being upfront about waiting times and what we are doing is managing the (client) expectation, which absolutely assists them."

Mrs Herbert said she was constantly seeking funding increases and would continue to do so.

A triage scheme allows the commission to prioritise complaints surrounding permanent injury and death and place less severe complaints on the waiting list.

The HQCC will abandon six of its health care standards at the end of the year when it takes on a national set of safety and quality health care standards on January 1, 2013.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told the estimates hearing the health standards replacement would reduce part of the burden on the HQCC.

"The HQCC will have the opportunity to readjust some of its issues around the serious investigation they have to undertake," he said.

Mr Springborg said he would support "any reasonable budget initiative" if there was a clear indication the agency had tried to find budget efficiencies.

The HQCC came under fire earlier this year when a former health complaints investigator turned whistleblower accused the body of inadequate investigations.

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