Public hospital surgery waiting times under spotlight

WAITING times for surgery across Queensland's public hospitals will be independently audited by the Health Ombudsman from July next year.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg today announced the Ombudsman would "take control" of waiting list reporting away from the health department.

He said the Health Ombudsman, Leon Atkinson-MacEwen, would also soon be able to investigate health complaints from the public.

In July this year, the new Ombudsman took control of health complaints investigations from the former Health Quality and Complaints Commission.

But, bowing to calls for independent reporting from the Australian Medical Association's Queensland branch, the Ombudsman will soon be given the extra roles.

"This will deliver the guaranteed consistency and independence in wait-list reporting sought by the AMAQ in its policy submissions prior to the 2012 Queensland election," Mr Springborg said.

"We were told 'hospital performance statistics should be gathered and reported by an independent body'. That is exactly what this Government will do."

As well as responsibility for auditing the National Emergency Access Target and National Elective Surgery Target, the Ombudsman on could be given extra, unannounced areas of "performance reporting" later next year.