When a patient complains directly to you, it is recommended you take the time to respond directly to the complaint. Often a direct and clear explanation of what occurred is sufficient to avoid a more formal complaint at a later date. An apology at an early stage can often be a good way to resolve a complaint.
In all states, legislation makes it clear that an apology is not an admission of liability.
It is important you recognize the patient’s real concern and respond appropriately to that concern. The following are examples of how complaints can be resolved directly:
- a complete explanation of what has occurred and why it occurred
- a clear treatment plan for future needs
- an apology
- an assurance that processes have been put in place to avoid this outcome occurring again
- payment of medical costs or other compensation
Please see article on appropriate responses to direct complaints from the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.