A near doubling of patient complaints to the Health and
Disability Commissioner (HDC) is not a "shock horror story",
Southern District Health Board deputy chairman Paul Menzies
Speaking as hospital advisory committee chairman at its
meeting yesterday in Invercargill, Mr Menzies said he was
pleased the media seemed to better understand that numbers of
complaints did not necessarily indicate a problem.
Increased reporting and complaining were part of a heightened
awareness that helped improve the quality of health services,
Chief medical officer Dr David Tulloch said staff often
advised those who were unhappy with their treatment to
complain to HDC, even when they felt they had done everything
correctly for the person.
Most complaints were resolved at a "low level", he said.
A report to the committee shows the 25 HDC complaints about
Southern DHB in the first six months of the year were nearly
double the 13 of the same period last year.
It was only three fewer than for all of 2011, and five fewer
than all of 2010.
At nearly 98 per 100,000 discharges, Southern's complaint
rate was higher than the national rate of nearly 81 per
Complaints about Southern staff members' attitude or manner
had increased, and were greater than any previous reported
However, complaints about diagnosis, and inadequate
treatment, were down.
The commissioner closed 21 complaints related to Southern in
the first half of the year. Only one investigation was
launched, but it was later discontinued.
The rest of the complaints were resolved by other means.