11 NOVEMBER 2009: Queensland’s independent health watchdog is urging Indigenous Queenslanders to speak up about the safety and quality of their healthcare.
Less than two per cent of complaints and enquiries to the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC) were made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this year.
CEO Cheryl Herbert said Indigenous Queenslanders are under-represented in the HQCC’s complaints data.
“We help thousands of healthcare consumers and providers resolve complaints and disputes each year, and we bring this information together to pick up trends or emerging issues that may be putting the safety of patients at risk,” she said.
“There is an identified gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – so it is even more important for Indigenous Queenslanders to speak out, contact us and help to close that gap.”
The HQCC has launched a new campaign to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complain.
New information cards - featuring basic information and contact details, as well as paintings by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists – are being distributed to community and health organisations.
The HQCC has also recently appointed an identified Indigenous officer with dual responsibilities in handling complaints and community liaison.
While all HQCC staff undertake regular cultural awareness training, complainants can request to speak with this officer.
The HQCC is an independent body dedicated to improving the quality and safety of health services in Queensland.
Established in July 2006, the HQCC has three key functions — managing complaints, monitoring and promoting quality improvement in health services and sharing information.