Complaints – Policy
MMC understands that despite our best intentions, we are unable to satisfy everybody all of the time. We see patient feedback, both positive and negative as an opportunity to maximise our strengths and to address our weaknesses. Patient feedback is invited and accepted appreciatively at all times.
Complaints – Procedure
Opportunities are available for patients and other visitors to tell us how we are doing. We collect systematic patient experience feedback at least every 3 years as part of our accreditation process.
The MMC information brochure provides patients with information on how to provide feedback.
We have a complaints resolution process and we make the contact details for the state or territory health complaints agencies readily available to patients if we are unable to resolve their concerns ourselves.
Patients have a ‘right to complain’ and where possible patients and others are encouraged to raise any concerns directly with the MMC team who are trained to make sure patients of MMC feel confident that any feedback or complaints made at MMC will be handled appropriately.
Patients and others have opportunities to register their complaints either verbally to staff, in writing (letter) or via our suggestion box. Patients are encouraged to complain anonymously if desired.
We make every effort to respond to and resolve complaints at the time the patient or other people such as carers (relative, friend other consumer) makes them known to us.
Under the Health Services (Conciliation & Review) Act 1987 people with complaints are encouraged to try to resolve them directly with the health service provider. If a satisfactory outcome is not achieved then the complaint can go directly to the Health Services Commissioner for action. The public may also call the Office of the Health Services Commissioner at any time concerning a query or to report a complaint.
Under national and state privacy laws: Commonwealth Privacy Act – Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 and APP, MMC must provide and adhere to a complaints process for privacy issues and those related to the APPs/Health Privacy Principles (HPPs).
All staff are prepared to address complaints as they arise. Depending on the nature of the complaint and advice received from medical indemnity company, complaints are recorded and actioned, with a copy placed in the patient’s medical record if related to patient care.
All clinical staff and the practice manger are aware of their professional and legal obligations regarding the mandatory reporting of unprofessional conduct.
When receiving complaints staff keep in mind the following in order to minimise further patient anxiety and hostility, possible leading to litigation.
Handling of Complaints
- Handle all complaints seriously, no matter how trivial they may seem
- Verbal, in person complaints are addressed in a private area of MMC where possible
- Use tactful, anti-inflammatory language when responding to complaints
- Don’t blame other staff, patients may not have all the facts or may distort them
- Acknowledge the patients right to complain
- Address the patient’s expectations regarding how they want the matter resolved
- Assure the patient that their complaint will be investigated and not overlooked
- Offer the patients the opportunity to complete a formal complaint form
- Alert the GP or relevant clinical staff about disgruntled or hostile patients so he/she can diffuse the situation immediately
- Inform the Practice Manager of significant statements made by the patient or significant change in patient attitude; often patients are comfortable to tell staff and not the GP
- Practice Manager is responsible for feedback collection and analysis and handling complaints. The Practice Manager coordinates the investigation and resolution of complaints.
- Use the Acknowledgment of Complaint letter provided and respond to complaints in writing within 2 working days
- Telephone the patient to let him/her know that you are working on the problem
- Respond to all complaints promptly in an open and constructive manner including an explanation and if appropriate an apology
- Work with the patient to resolve the complaint and communicate the outcome with the patient including any changes made as a result of the complaint
- If the complaint is of a medical nature always refer it to a GP
- Where a complaint is made against a staff member provide them with an opportunity to discuss the details in a private setting
- As a routine, contact MMC’s insurer when there is a complaint about a member of the Clinical Team in order to seek advice on resolving the complaint before any action is taken
- Ensure the complaint does not adversely affect the patents care
- Record the complaint, investigation, and actions, with a copy placed in the patient’s medical record if related to patient care and enter the details into the complaints file
- If the matter cannot be resolved advise the patient about how to contact the Health Complaints commissioner.
The National Privacy Commissioner is able to receive complaints concerning privacy issues. Complaints here will have a response within 28 days.
National Privacy Commissioner
Privacy hotline 1300 363 992
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001
Members of the public may make a notification to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) http://www.ahpra.gov.au/ (AHPRA) about the conduct, health or performance of a practitioner or the health of a student. Practitioners, employers and education providers are all mandated by law to report notifiable conduct relating to a registered practitioner or student to AHPRA.
MMC has a Policy of Learning From Complaints
- Where appropriate, we ensure that complaints are reviewed at staff meetings
- We analyse trends and discuss the methods of resolution
- Other types of patient feedback – i.e. surveys, suggestion box are also reviewed at staff meetings
- We record improvements made in response to patient feedback or complaints as evidence of quality assurance activities
- Where appropriate, we inform the patient/s about MMC improvements made as a result of their input.
RACGP 4th edition Standards 2.1.2