Ontario is taking steps toward appointing its first Patient Ombudsman to help people who have an unresolved complaint about their care at a hospital, long-term care home or Community Care Access Centre.
Ontario is inviting people across the province to share their ideas on what skills, experience and personality traits they would like to see in the province’s first Patient Ombudsman.
Until August 31, 2015, people can go online to help recruit Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman by identifying which qualities they think are most important for the role. The province will use this information to guide its selection of Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman.
The Role of the Patient Ombudsman
The Patient Ombudsman will assist patients and their caregivers who have not had their concerns resolved through existing processes at hospitals, long-term care homes or community care access centres. Key functions of the Patient Ombudsman will include:
- Addressing unresolved complaints from current and former hospital patients, long-term care home residents, community care access centre clients and their caregivers
- Investigating health-sector organizations in response to unresolved complaints, as necessary
- Making recommendations to health-sector organizations following investigations.
Strengthening the Patient Relations Process in Public Hospitals
To further strengthen the voice of patients in Ontario’s health care system, the province is also improving the patient relations process in hospitals. While many public hospitals already have patient relations departments and processes, as of Sept. 1, 2015, all public hospitals will be required to have a staff member responsible for overseeing the patient relations process as well as other measures to improve patient relations.
Establishing a Patient Ombudsman is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. It will provide patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
- The Patient Ombudsman will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and housed in Health Quality Ontario.
- The work of the Patient Ombudsman will complement the work of other existing organizations in the health system that handle complaints, including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.
- The term of the Patient Ombudsman’s appointment will be five years, with the possibility of reappointment for an additional five-year term. The government cannot shorten that term, except under exceptional circumstances.
- Encouraging Ontarians to share their ideas about their health care system is part of the government’s Open Government commitment.
- All reports made by the Patient Ombudsman will be made available on Health Quality Ontario’s website.