Efforts to improve safety a win for Qld patients

31 March 2013
Moves to strengthen State legislation for a more timely and effective response to health complaints and malpractice are a win for Queensland patients, say Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

Sarah Atkinson, who heads Maurice Blackburn's Queensland medical negligence department, said any efforts that put further focus on improving the complaints process for patients was a welcome step.

"Patient safety must always be the priority, and too often we see patients and families whose lives have tragically changed forever as a result of negligent care," Mrs Atkinson said. 

"All patients should be entitled to a reasonable standard of care in the public and private health systems, and when things go wrong there needs to be an effective method of investigating why this has happened, explaining this to patients and their families and ensuring changes are made to prevent similar incidents. 

"Unfortunately for too many patients it can still be very challenging to progress complaints that lead to effective change at an individual practitioner and broader level. 

"While a number of positive steps have been taken at a state and national level in recent years, there is always more that can be done to protect patients. 

"This is also important for medical practitioners - the majority of health staff do a very good job but it's essential that systems to protect patients are as strong as possible to ensure that those putting patients at unnecessary risk are identified as quickly as possible. 

"Any moves by the State Government to highlight and address these issues for Queensland patients are welcome," she said. 

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