Treatment, communication key complaints to health watchdog

TREATMENT and communication were the chief concerns of people in the Wide Bay region who complained to the independent health watchdog in 2012.

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission's Annual Health Check 2012 provides a snapshot of the common causes of Queenslanders' healthcare complaints.

More than 3500 people complained to the HQCC in 2012, up 33% on 2011.

Some 6.5% (238) of complaints came from people who received health services in the Wide Bay region, up slightly from 6% in 2011.

Complaints were lodged mostly about public hospitals (79) and medical practitioners (69).

Chief executive Adjunct Professor Cheryl Herbert said the figures reflected the statewide trend.

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

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

Professor 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," she said.

Professor Herbert said it was important to acknowledge the work done at a local level to resolve complaints.

"Most complaints never make it to us - they are often resolved quickly and effectively between the consumer and the healthcare provider," she said.

"We encourage consumers to attempt speaking with their provider first if they have concerns.

"If they are not satisfied with the provider's response or feel uncomfortable approaching the provider, we're here to help.

"Outside Brisbane, consumers can call 1800 077 308 and speak to us about their concerns.

The HQCC's Annual Health Check 2012, including regional snapshots, is available at

The HQCC is an independent body designed to improve the quality and safety of healthcare in Queensland which works with healthcare providers, consumers and other agencies to prevent patient harm.