More health com­plaints than mo­bile phone gripes

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - MATT SMITH

DIS­GRUN­TLED pa­tients are mak­ing 175 com­plaints a week about South Aus­tralia’s pub­lic health sys­tem – twice the rate they are com­plain­ing about their mo­bile phones.

SA Health data re­veals that there were 9107 com­plaints in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year – a 34 per cent in­crease from the 6761 com­plaints five years ear­lier.

In com­par­i­son, 4056 South Aus­tralians com­plained to the na­tional telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions watch­dog about their mo­bile phones dur­ing the same pe­riod – about 78 a week.

Health pa­tients’ big­gest com­plaints were about treat­ment (2570), while other com­plaints were fo­cused on con­sent, pro­fes­sional con­duct and cost.

The fig­ures come as The Ad­ver­tiser yes­ter­day re­vealed a se­ri­ously ill can­cer pa­tient is de­mand­ing com­pen­sa­tion af­ter a Royal Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal doc­tor mis­read test re­sults and left his dis­ease un­treated for months.

The area to see the high­est in­crease in com­plaints dur­ing the five-year pe­riod was is­sues about con­sent, which soared 86.4 per cent be­tween 2012-13 and 2016-17, from 59 to 110.

Mr Wade said a rise from 240 com­plaints about pri­vacy and dis­crim­i­na­tion in 2015-16 to 436 last fi­nan­cial year, made the case for a full re­view of pa­tient record man­age­ment.

“Only a com­plete au­dit of ac­cess to pa­tient records will pro­vide proper pro­tec­tion of pa­tients per­sonal in­for­ma­tion,” he said. “Rather than re­act­ing to com­plaints, we need a Gov­ern­ment which will be proac­tive in iden­ti­fy­ing and rec­ti­fy­ing prob­lems.”

Mr Malin­auskas said the La­bor Gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished the in­de­pen­dent Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Com­plaints Com­mis­sioner in 2005 to pro­vide con­sumers with a con­fi­den­tial and free ser­vice to as­sist with com­plaints. “All ma­jor hos­pi­tals have a Con­sumer Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice that li­aises di­rectly with pa­tients to re­solve com­plaints and pro­vides feed­back to SA Health,” he said.

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