We value feedback and complaints as they assist us to improve our service, procedures and processes.
This policy has been designed to assist both patients and staff. We are committed to consistent, fair and confidential complaint handling and to resolving complaints as quickly as possible. We aim to make it easy for people to make a complaint if they are dissatisfied and we will treat all patients making a complaint equally.
Definition of a complaint
Complaints are defined as any expression of dissatisfaction or grievance made to staff by a patient or member of the public in relation to our business.
Complaints may be made via telephone, email, fax, private message or mail. For patient privacy reasons and to facilitate effective complaint resolution, patient complaints should not be lodged via Facebook comments or public Twitter messages.
We encourage you to let us know if you have feedback or complaints regarding a third party involved in your care, such as a hospital facility or a healthcare professional that we refer patients to. We also encourage patients to voice their concerns to that party. We cannot take responsibility for the actions of a third party, but we do promise to take your feedback seriously.
All complaints made, verbal or written, will be recorded in our practice Complaints Registry at the time the complaint is made, or as soon as possible afterwards. The complaint will be recorded by the staff member who took the details.
When taking a complaint, staff will record the name and contact details of the patient, as well as full details of the complaint including the date. Details of all communication and any actions to resolve the complaint will be recorded in the same place.
Complaints will also be monitored for any ongoing trends so that additional efforts can be directed towards resolving any ongoing issues.
Patients’ personal details or details of their complaint will not be divulged to third parties unless we have their written consent.
Informing patients of progress
We strive to resolve all complaints within five working days. Complaints will be acknowledged promptly.
Patients will be given an approximate timeframe at the time they make their complaint. Patients will be informed of the progress of their complaint regularly, especially if there are any delays or changes to what has been agreed.
Patients will be informed of any changes to our products or services as a result of their complaint.
Where appropriate, patients who have had a complaint resolved will be contacted at a later date to see if they are happy with how their complaint was handled.
Responding to complaints
All people making a complaint will be treated with courtesy. Where possible, complaints will be resolved at the first point of contact. Complaints will still be recorded.
If the complaint can’t be resolved immediately, the patient will be given a timeframe, a contact person and details of our complaint handling process.
Outcomes of complaints may include:
- An explanation of what happened, or the provision of more detailed information about your condition, complication or treatment
- An opportunity for you to discuss your complaint face-to-face
- An apology
- A change to systems or procedures so that a similar incident does not occur
- Referral to another provider for a second opinion or further treatment
- Provision of remedial treatment
- Referral to an organisation where you can escalate your complaint
Escalation of complaints
If we cannot resolve the complaint to the patient’s satisfaction, we will inform them about where they can take further action (e.g. the Office of the Health Services Commissioner on 8601 5200 or at http://health.vic.gov.au, the Medical Board of Australia, the Equal Opportunity Commission).
Review of complaint handling policy and procedures
We are committed to continuous improvement and this policy will be reviewed regularly for effectiveness.
Acknowledgement: Dr Jill Tomlinson acknowledges use of a 2008 complaints policy template from the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission and the website of the Human Services Commissioner in the development of this policy.