Just when you were having a good day – you get a complaint. Dr Greg Dollman advises on the rules and the options when this happens in private practice.
Complaints against doctors are now more common. Social media and a greater public awareness of complaints procedures may be contributing factors.
Sometimes there is a basis to the concern, sometimes not. Complaints against independent practitioners include concerns about the clinical care provided, a perceived breakdown in communication or they are related to administrative matters.
It is widely accepted that any expression of dissatisfaction about the provision of healthcare should be considered to be a complaint, and investigated and responded to accordingly.
A patient who has paid for their medical care will expect prompt resolution of their concerns.
As well as seeking a detailed response to a complaint, they may request:
A refund of money paid;
Re-imbursement for the costs of a second opinion;
Make a claim for financial compensation – or damages – for loss or injury arising from the care provided.
Understandably, a private doctor will wish to resolve such dissatisfaction at the earliest opportunity.
Doctors, of course, know that they must make the care of a patient their first concern and that they must treat patients politely and considerately.
But how should you deal with a complaint and how do you manage a complainant’s expectations?
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