What is the health sector ombud and how does it relate to the OHSC?

24 Jan 2017

The National Health Amendment Act provides for the Minister of Health to appoint an ombud – a kind of public protector – for the healthcare sector.

  • The ombud must consider, investigate and settle complaints about poor quality healthcare. He or she must make a recommendation for action at the end of every investigation and the CEO of the The Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) must see this is carried out.
  • The ombud must operate fairly and deal with complaints swiftly. The ombud is intended to bring about justice without the expense and delay of court action.

In order to protect the independence of the ombud, the National Health Amendment Act specifies that:

  • The ombud remains in office for seven years and this period cannot be renewed.
  • He or she reports directly to the Minister, not to the OHSC. The OHSC must, however, provide the ombud with the staff needed for effective functioning.
  • Funding for the ombud is voted directly by Parliament and cannot be redirected for other work.
  • The ombud must perform his or her functions “in good faith and without fear, favour, bias or prejudice “.
  • The ombud must report his or her findings and recommendations to the person who laid the complaint and the health care establishment concerned.

Anyone who feels that the ombud has made an unfair finding or recommendation can appeal to the Minister who will appoint a retired judge or magistrate to reconsider the matter.

The Minister of Heath appointed Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba as the first Health Ombud since 1 June 2016.

This content was lifted from OHSC website with minor editing

OHSC contact details are as follows:

Toll-Free Number: 080 911 6472

Fax: 086 560 4157

Email: complaints@ohsc.org.za

Post: Private Bag X 21, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0007

Walk-in: OHSC Offices, Medical Research Council Building, 1 Soutpansberg Road, Prinshof, Pretoria

This content was lifted from OHSC website with minor editing

info@probonmatters.co.za

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