Until now, if a patient or family member of a patient had an unresolved problems with a hospital, that’s how matters remained; unresolved. However that’s no longer the case as residents in Northeastern Ontario are learning after a visit from a former politician last week. Christine Elliott, a former MPP and past leadership contender for the Progressive Conservatives, is touring communities as the first ever Patient Ombudsman. She visited four northern communities last week in her first official visit to the north in her new capacity. Those towns and cities were North Bay, Espanola, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Elliott met not only with patients and their families but also health officials. She said although she hears sad stories, on the plus side there’s joy when the complainant has a matter resolved in their favour.
Elliott was appointed by the Ontario Liberal government as Patient Ombudsman last July. Her office investigates complaints against hospitals, long-term care homes and community care access centres when the complainant feels their issue has not been properly resolved. Elliott says in the several months she’s been on the job, she’s says she’s had a good relationship with the health minister and ministry. Elliott says she’s an advocate for fairness in health care and although it’s her responsibility to help people, sometimes she’s not able to. Elliott says if people have a health-related issue and don’t know where or who to turn to, she “encourages people to contact her office”. To lodge a complaint or concern people can either call 1-888-321-0339 or visit the website at www.patientombudsman.ca