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Ontario is inviting people across the province to share their ideas on what skills, experience and personality traits they would like to see in the province's first Patient Ombudsman.
The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced the creation of the new role at Toronto General Hospital's Peter and Melanie Munk Patient and Family Learning Centre and Library.
The Patient Ombudsman will assist patients and their caregivers who have not had their concerns resolved through existing processes at hospitals, long-term care homes or community care access centres, Minister Hoskins said. To further strengthen the voice of patients in Ontario's health care system, he also announced improvements for the patient relations process in hospitals.
"The establishment of the first Patient Ombudsman is a big step forward in our patients-first approach to health care," Minister Hoskins said at Tuesday's announcement. "By hearing from patients directly about the qualities they want to see in their Patient Ombudsman, we can help ensure that the new Patient Ombudsman is the strongest possible representative for patients and their needs."
The Minister praised the work done by UHN's Patient Relations team led by Sharon Rogers, Director of Patient Relations and UHN's Ombudsman. UHN has had a Patient Relations department since 1993, and starting Sept. 1, 2015, it will be required that all Ontarians have access to patient relations support in all hospitals.
"The role of Patient Relations is to help patients in the moment and learn from each experience," Sharon says. "We're very happy to hear this announcement and we hope to continue to support the work of the Ministry and other hospitals in providing this vital service to all patients in Ontario."