[Ombudsman's Office Letterhead]
Our Reference: C/98/6110 Enquiries: Helen Ford
Phone: (02) 9286 1097
18 March 1999
Ms C Kardell
Whistleblowers Australia Inc
7 A Campbell Street
BALMAIN NSW 2041
Dear Ms Kardell
Your complaint about HealthQuest
I refer to the above matter and confirm I now have carriage of your complaint.
I apologise for the delay in this office contacting you again. As my colleague, Ms Margo Maneschi, told you in ther letter of 21 October 1998 an approach was made to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to determine a joint approach to the issues raised by the information you and others had provided to this office and ICAC.
A meeting took place between representatives of ICAC and the Ombudsman on 11 February at which it was agreed this office will make inquiries about the practices and procedures of HealthQuest.
Since that meeting I have met with officers from Premier' s Department to discuss the Premier's Memorandum issued on 6 January 1998 which details the procedures to be followed when departments make referrals to HealthQuest.
The premier's Memorandum post-dates a number of situations described in individual complaints we have received. Rather than focusing on individual complaints, this office is therefore making inquiries about HealthQuest's current practices and procedures, particularly in regard to how referrals are now being dealt with. I enclose for your reference a copy of the relevant part of the letter of inquiry sent to Dr Helia Gapper. The information provided by you and other individual complainants has assisted in the formulation of these inquiries.
I will contact you again when progress has been made. You are of course able to contact me on the telephone number at the head of this letter if you have any queries.
Acting Senior Investigation Officer
for the Ombudsman