Taking, recording, resolving and assessing complaints
The HCSCC aims to resolve complaints as quickly and informally as possible. Only a small number of complaints (10% to 15%) are finalised using the formal processes of either investigation or conciliation.
A complaint may be made electronically, orally or in writing. On receipt, the HCSCC will make one of the following decisions:
- That the person wants information only. Once the information has been provided the enquiry will be closed.
- That the complaint is out of jurisdiction and therefore take no further action.
- That the complaint should be referred to another body/organisation/agency and therefore assist the complainant with the referral. Once referred the complaint will then be closed, as the HCSCC has no further authority to consider the matter.
- That the complaint is within jurisdiction and the complainant, with their agreement, can approach the provider direct without the need for any assistance from the HCSCC. Once the direct approach is agreed the complaint will be closed.
- That the complaint is within jurisdiction and the complainant, with their agreement, requires assistance from the HCSCC to approach the provider direct. The HCSCC will assist the complainant to approach the provider and monitor progress. Once resolved the complaint will be closed.
- That the complaint is within jurisdiction and cannot be resolved at ‘point of service’ but may be resolved with the help of the HCSCC. In these cases the HCSCC will attempt to facilitate the resolution of the complaint by:
- providing information;
- organising meetings;
- facilitating/mediating meetings; and
- providing advise and options.
The HCSCC will attempt to resolve the complaint within jurisdiction as informally as possible. Therefore actions 4, 5 and 6 above are preferred by the HCSCC and staff are skilled in assisting and facilitating such processes. Around 60% of complaints are resolved between the complainant and the provider in this way.
- That the complaint is within jurisdiction and after taking into account its issues, will not be resolved expeditiously by directly approaching the provider or through facilitation. These complaints will be registered, inquired into and formally assessed by the HCSCC. Tasks undertaken during preliminary inquiries can include:
- notifying various parties of the complaint;
- exploring and arranging resolution options;
- gaining responses to complaint issues;
- obtaining relevant documents and information, eg medical records, x-rays, etc;
- interviewing the parties
- initiating and/or facilitating meetings; and
- obtaining independent clinical advice.
The objective of the Assessment process is to determine whether the complaint warrants further enquiry or investigation. The HCSCC has 60 days from receipt of the complaint to make one of the following decisions:
- take no further action;
- investigate; or
- refer to a Professional Registration Board or other body.
Once the assessment determination is made by the HCSCC, all parties to the complaint are advised.
Of all complaints received by the HCSCC, 70% are resolved informally between the complainant and the provider, 20% are finalised during assessment; the remaining 10% are either conciliated or investigated.