Making a complaint
Complaint resolution
Information for the provider

Helpful hints for handling complaints

Every complaint is different, so your approach to resolving it will differ in each situation.  There are no hard and fast rules to follow in the resolution of complaints, but the following general principles may help:

Be Clear about Your Patient’s Concerns and Expectations

If you are not sure about the reason for the complaint you should ask questions to make sure you understand. You should also check whether an interpreter is needed and if the consumer would like a friend or relative to support them.

Gather All Relevant Information

If possible, you should make sure you have all the necessary records, reports, x-rays and other relevant information available when trying to resolve the complaint.

Respond Promptly

Delays in dealing with complaints can add to tensions and in many cases generate further resentment. If you are unable to respond quickly, you should let the complainant know as soon as possible.

Plan Meetings and Stay Calm

Face to face meetings with the complainant can often assist in resolving a complaint. You should make the complainant feel comfortable and try to ensure you are not interrupted.

Keep Your Promises

If you make promises or agree to certain actions they should be realistic and achievable. If unexpected events arise which make it difficult to keep previous arrangements, you should personally notify the patient as soon as possible.

Seek Advice and Assistance If Unsure

There may be times when it is not feasible or appropriate for you to deal with the complaint personally. For example, complaints involving extremely distressed or aggressive people, complex complaints involving a number of providers or complaints alleging assault or sexual misconduct. In these cases you may want to seek advice. This advice can be obtained from respected colleagues, your employer, a professional association, an indemnity/insurance body or the HCSCC.

More information is available from our complaints guidelines.