The Commonwealth Ombudsman announced today the completion of his investigation of the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Complaints Resolution Scheme.

The investigation was commenced in February 2000 after preliminary investigation of some individual complaints to the Ombudsman in late 1999, and was conducted with the full co-operation of the Department.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr Ron McLeod said ‘Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the investigation was the lack of clarity and understanding by most of the parties involved of how the Complaints Resolution Scheme was intended to operate.’

Mr McLeod said that ‘A well designed complaints scheme was important to helping to maintain a high quality of service delivery. It provides a means of resolving user dissatisfaction, it helps to identify deficiencies and it provides valuable feedback to the Department and the aged care service providers.’

Mr McLeod said that he was pleased that the Department had accepted the recommendations, noting that since the commencement of the investigation the Department had initiated action to address many of the issues that had become evident.

The Ombudsman emphasised the importance of the Complaint’s Resolution Scheme as an integral part of the delivery of the aged care program. A follow-up review of the Complaints Resolution Scheme will be undertaken in early 2001.

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Date of release: 24 July 2000