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Queensland health ombudsman: Leon Atkinson-MacEwen to take over

Leon Atkinson-MacEwen.

Leon Atkinson-MacEwen. Photo: Supplied

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has been upstaged by the Tasmanian government.

In a release sent out by the Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, on Monday, the Apple Isle’s Attorney-General Brian Wrightman named his state’s outgoing Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner, Leon Atkinson-MacEwen, as the successful applicant for the newly created Queensland Health position

Mr Wrightman thanked Mr Atkinson-MacEwen for his service to Tasmania and wished him well in his “fantastic” new role as Queensland’s “first Health Ombudsman”.

Which was news to staff at the state’s Health Quality and Complaints Commission, which is to be abolished to make way for the inaugural Office of the Health Ombudsman.

HQCC staff, who are still feeling skittish after learning their jobs would not be guaranteed in the new office, were bemused to learn the identity of the man who held their employment futures in his hands, on social media.

Twitter user @jan_darr, found the Tasmanian release and sent it out to her followers on Tuesday.


On Wednesday, Mr Springborg admitted it was not how he had hoped to announce the appointment.

“I understand the Tasmanian Government needed to inform its staff about the departure of its Health Ombudsman, which unfortunately made the news public, before the required process could be followed in Queensland,” he said.

“Appointments to government positions in Queensland are required to be notified in the Queensland Government Gazette prior to any public announcement. As such, I am looking forward to welcoming Mr Atkinson-MacEwen to Queensland at the end of the month.”

Mr Springborg said the appointment of Mr Atkinson-MacEwen would “deliver a transparent, accountable health complaints management system that will effectively deal with health service complaints”.

“The confusion that has created so many problems in the existing system will be removed, with health consumers able to make complaints to one entity - the Health Ombudsman,” he said.

“Mr Atkinson-MacEwen's first task will be to oversee the set-up of the Office of the Health Ombudsman, including its staffing complement.”

According to the Tasmanian Ombudsman website, Mr Atkinson-MacEwen had previously worked for the Department of Defence, the National Crime Authority, the ABC, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Tasmanian Treasury Department.

The government will formally announce his new role later this month.

4 comments so far

  • When he realises his hands are tied, he'll step down in 12 for more family time.

    Date and time
    January 23, 2014, 2:59AM
    • Yes the HQCC definitely needs to be more transparent.
      In my case, the answer to the question, by an anonymous doctor “Was treatment reasonable? Was one word “yes” ! All of the other 5 answers in the medical experts opinion where also short answer ( 1 or 2 words) HQCC absolutely REFUSED to provide justification or further explanation for the answers. ( The questions relate to a unexpected death of a hospital patient , 36 hours strong stomach pain, ONLY given pain relief, NO other investigation of pain cause )

      Date and time
      January 23, 2014, 4:23AM
      • Well he sounds like a perfect candidate for a future Queensland or Tasmanian Labor MP, especially having worked at the ABC, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Tasmanian Treasury Department which has been overseen by Labor for fifteen years down here. Mr Springborg will live to regret this choice as shown by Atkinson-MacEwen advising Labor Premier Giddings and embarrassing his new boss even before day one. Because the same side of politics, Labor, has been in power for so long, and thanks to Clive Palmer, is likely continue on for many years to come,Tasmania is totally riddled with Labor/Green public servants as to make them suspect as employees by any LNP administration, AND it would also be the same if the LNP had been in power for fifteen years.

        davey street
        Date and time
        January 23, 2014, 10:25AM
        • The word ‘bemused’ in the article hardly quanitifies how HQCC staff really feel. This is totally indicative of how this whole 'rock show' has been handled from start to finish; and what has changed for HQCC staff – absolutely nothing! They are still being treated as pariahs, with no future as far as the HQCC is concerned, and total uncertainy regarding any prospects of being employed with the new Health Ombudsman! The HQCC staff are good people who have only ever tried to do their job, working within the limited resources and legislation available. Amazingly they still continue to work professionally even though they have been so unceremoniously disregarded and cast aside. Thank God for the continuing new and improved Queensland Government efficiencies,and all the savings to the taxpayers that go with it. I seem to remember words to the effect that this government was for and all about Queenslanders and that it would always be about Queenslanders. Can't wait for the next state election!!!

          The General
          Date and time
          January 23, 2014, 1:09PM

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