SA probes health network complaints regime

·2-min read

South Australia's corruption watchdog will scrutinise how the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, which runs two of the city's biggest public hospitals, handles complaints about its operations and staff.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption says it will evaluate the network's practices, policies and procedures on receiving complaints and their management, investigation and outcomes.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Alsbury on Thursday said it was important employees and the community were confident complaints and investigations were dealt with appropriately and consistently.

"Complaints and investigations are a rich source of intelligence that can assist an agency to maintain high standards of integrity," Mr Alsbury said in a statement.

CALHN has responsibility for the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth hospitals as well as major services including SA Pathology, SA Medical Imaging and Pharmacy SA.

Mr Alsbury said his evaluation was not directed at specific allegations of impropriety but would allow for an examination of the network's safeguards against corruption and identify any weaknesses or opportunities for improvement.

His terms of reference include the degree to which any reporting of wrongdoing is encouraged and how any reports are assessed.

He will also consider the extent to which disciplinary sanctions and outcomes are imposed.

In a statement, the network said the ICAC probe was an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, and would look at ways to ensure it had the right systems to properly safeguard against corruption.

"Over the last few years CALHN has undergone immense changes to improve our governance and create a culture of integrity and safety," it said.

"The introduction of the governing boards and the implementation of the new clinical structure, which bring accountability and decision making closer to patient care, are examples of significant improvements we have made towards becoming a highly reliable organisation.

"While we are heading in the right direction, we acknowledge that we still have more work to do to improve our network, and we encourage staff to participate and provide feedback in support of the commission's evaluation."

Health Minister Chris Picton said the ICAC probe would be helpful in improving the state's health services.

"South Australians elected a new government five weeks ago to improve the health system, ensure patients get access to care, and support our healthcare workers," he said.

Mr Alsbury said he intended to deliver his report to state parliament by the end of the year.

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