Patient Ombudsman’s Message

Our First Year’s Insights

 

On November 9th, I issued my office’s report on our first year of operations. Looking back over that time I am very proud of what my team has accomplished. As a new organization, we needed to find space and equipment and at the same time begin the process of building our team. Moving quickly, this small but dedicated group came together and we opened on July 4th, 2016.

Working to get the word out, we travelled across the province to consult with patients, caregivers and families about what was important to them. We were met with passion and anticipation as people shared their individual experiences and the impact on their lives. These conversations demonstrated that every experience matters.

We heard a strong message asking that we take these stories and give them a voice in an effort to achieve meaningful improvement in healthcare. Expectations were high, but with a sense of hope that things could continue to get better.

In the annual report, we have included some of these stories to show the wide variety of circumstances people bring to us. We also included some comments from our team that reflect their experience and its impact on them. Although the legislation requires that we protect the personal information we are trusted with, these stories are an important part of the report. We will continue to work to give voices to these stories as we move forward.

In none of these stories, however, did people believe there was a simple answer for the complex problems facing healthcare today. Many people told us what answers there were would not come easily. As you read our report, you will see that they were right. The issues are complex and there is no single cause or solution.

What we did find, however, was that goodwill exists on all sides. It is this goodwill that shaped our experiences this year. Patients and health sector organizations were willing, time and again, to revisit complaints and, working together with our team, to find a fair resolution. I believe that building on this foundation of cooperation and collaboration, in year two we will continue to see complaints finding early resolutions rather than focusing on proceeding to formal investigations. We will also continue to build our understanding of issues in ways that ensure our investigations result in a better experience for everyone.

Finally, we want each person who contacts our office to know that we are also continuing to listen and learn, as we grow. If you have any compliments, complaints or other comments about your experience with our office, I invite you to send us an email at feedback@patientombudsman.ca, where a member of the senior leadership team will review your feedback and contact you to reply. You may also send a confidential letter to our mailing address, attention “Feedback”.

With that said, we are asking patients and caregivers to continue to be fearless in bringing their complaints to our office and for health sector organizations to be fearless in working with us to help improve Ontario’s healthcare system.

Sincerely,

Christine Elliott


Read the Annual Report

 


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