A Qld health chief says steps are being taken to address clinical incidents at Rockhampton Hospital after a string of bungles have led to patient deaths.

A Queensland health service boss says safety must be improved at Rockhampton Hospital following revelations 18 people died after a string of bungles.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has confirmed Rockhampton Hospital has launched 33 internal investigations into serious clinical incidents in the past three years – 18 of which involved patient deaths.

The incidents included staff prescribing the wrong medication, failing to properly monitor patients and incorrectly interpreting test results.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Len Richards says he’s been open about the need for reform to improve safety and quality at the hospital, which the service oversees.

“We must acknowledge our mistakes, and it is vitally important that we learn from those mistakes and make changes to ensure they do not happen again,” Mr Richards told AAP in a statement on Monday.

“That commitment is setting us on the path to become a great public hospital service for the community who rely on us.”

The health service has created a new position of executive director of quality and safety.

Mr Springborg said the number of serious incidents at the hospital was not a direct measure of safety, particularly when compared to other major regional hospitals like Townsville and the Gold Coast.

“I don’t necessarily believe that it’s remarkably higher,” Mr Springborg said.

“You do have unexpected deaths when you’re treating millions of patients, and that’s why you have a process of proper clinical review of every one of those across the state.”

Opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller has called for an independent investigation.

“I’m certainly concerned about Rockhampton Hospital investigating Rockhampton Hospital,” she told ABC radio.