The Saskatchewan Ombudsman Is Still Your Health Ombudsman
Provincial Ombudsman, Mary McFadyen, is reminding the public that her Office is still available to take health complaints, even though Saskatchewan has gone from 12 health regions to one health authority. She said, “It is important for people to know there is an independent and impartial office that they can contact if they think a public health provider has been unfair to them, and they have not been able to resolve it. We are still here and our mandate in health remains the same.”
She said people dealing with an administrative issue in health should first try to resolve it with the Saskatchewan Health Authority or the public health provider. This may include contacting a manager or working with a Quality Care Coordinator (or similar role), or trying an available appeal process. If this does not work, people can contact her Office. Ombudsman Saskatchewan takes complaints about the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Ministry of Health, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, e-Health, and many other publicly-funded health entities. Here are some anonymous examples of health complaints that have been published in previous Ombudsman reports:
- “Leona” was charged for an ambulance she didn’t call for and didn’t use. We helped resolve this issue informally.
- “Fern” had been paying for part of her renal medication for two years when she found out it was covered – but she was having trouble getting all her money back. We looked into what made her situation unique and helped resolve the issue.
- “Hugh” had intellectual disabilities and mental illness. When trying to access services, he did not fit neatly into Social Services’ or his health region’s service plans. We helped ensure he had the supports he needed from both sectors and we made recommendations to help others in similar circumstances.
- From November 2014 to May 12, 2015, 89 people complained to us about the quality of care in long-term care homes. Many of these concerns were addressed by recommendations made in our 2015 investigation report, Taking Care.The Ombudsman takes complaints about administrative decisions, so complaints about medical expertise should still go to applicable professional bodies, such as the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons or the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association.
The Ombudsman’s staff first reviews complaints to decide what sort of involvement is best. For example, whenever possible, her Office will help to resolve the matter informally. If informal resolution is not possible, the Office may investigate, after which the Ombudsman will review the findings and decide whether to make recommendations.
The Ombudsman is an officer of the Legislative Assembly who operates under The Ombudsman Act, 2012. Her Office promotes and protects fairness and integrity in the design and delivery of provincial and municipal government services.
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Director of Communications