Home' OsteoLife : OsteoLife Winter 2015 Contents 20 Osteopathy Australia
While an unenjoyable experience, when managed
well, complaints can result in a positive outcome,
says Guild Insurance.
o business is immune from receiving a complaint. There can be
a tendency to see a complaint as a personal criticism rather than
constructive feedback. However, there can be positive outcomes
when the situation is managed appropriately.
WHY DO PEOPLE COMPLAIN?
Sometimes a complaint will almost be expected following an incident;
sometimes it will take you by complete surprise. Having an understanding
of why people may complain can assist with managing a complaint and
potentially reduce the likelihood of further complaints. The following are
some of the reasons why people may feel the need to complain.
1. High expectations – consumer expectations are increasingly high
when engaging professional services, particularly as your patients
pay for your service and will most likely see you as a highly trained
and qualified professional.
2. Unrealistic expectations – it’s possible that patients may have
unrealistic expectations about osteopathy treatment. It’s important
to remember that most patients will not have the clinical knowledge
you do and what’s obvious or common sense to you may not be
to them. A practice must assist patients to be fully informed about
the treatment being provided and the outcomes they can expect.
This requires ongoing discussions with patients and, where possible,
written information to assist their understanding.
3. To inform and be heard – patients may make a complaint simply
to be listened to and acknowledged, especially if they have been
adversely impacted. Not all complaints will lead to a formal demand
4. Belief that someone is responsible – sometimes someone
is obviously responsible, sometimes it’s hard to determine who’s
responsible and other times
it is just an unfortunate
set of circumstances.
However, if a patient
thought something had
gone wrong and this led
to them being harmed,
it’s quite possible they
may complain with the
intention of holding
THE IMPORTANCE OF MANAGING COMPLAINTS
There may sometimes be a temptation to ignore a complaint and hope it
will just go away. This is a very short-sighted way to run any business, as
there are clear benefits to appropriately managing complaints.
• Patients will generally expect to see their complaint dealt with
quickly and fairly. When this doesn’t happen it’s possible that
further complaints will follow and the issue or concern could
become a much greater one. Complaints may also escalate to
AHPRA or another regulatory body.
• Managing complaints should be seen as good ‘customer service’.
You rely on patients to keep your business afloat. Keeping patients
happy and satisfied is more likely to see them continue to utilise
your service and recommend your practice to others.
• Complaints can provide a practice with an opportunity to review
and improve its service. When investigating and dealing with
the complaint, the practice may wish to consider a change in a
procedure to avoid that issue arising again in the future.
HOW TO MANAGE COMPLAINTS
It’s advisable that every osteopathy practice has a complaints policy. This
means that the practice will have an agreed-to process that allows for all
complaints to be managed in a fair and consistent manner. It also means
staff know what to do, which is important as managing complaints can
be a challenging situation to deal with.
A key aspect in dealing with any complaint is listening to the person.
Where possible, make time to sit down in a quiet space and give them
time to express their concerns. You may not agree with all they are
saying, however it helps if you can try to understand the situation from
their perspective. You may wish to ask them to document their concerns
so you both have an accurate record of the matter. Avoid being defensive
or taking the complaint personally, as this may inflame the situation.
With low-level complaints you may be able to offer a solution then
and there. However, this won’t always be the case. With more serious
complaints you should provide the person with an assurance that
you’ll investigate the matter and get back to them with a response at
a later date.
Guild Insurance expects those insured with us not to admit
liability (or name someone else as being at fault), or to offer any
compensation without contacting us first. However, this doesn’t
prevent you from apologising or showing sympathy for any pain or
inconvenience the person may be experiencing.
Contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213 as soon as you’ve received
a complaint; don’t wait till it escalates to a claim for compensation. We
will provide advice and support to assist you to deal appropriately and
professionally with what can be a challenging and possibly upsetting
situation. Utilising this support can be the difference between sorting a
problem quickly and it escalating to a serious claim.
Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS Licence No. 233 791.
This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not
intended to constitute the provision of legal advice. Guild Insurance
supports your association through the payment of
referral fees for certain products or services you take
out with them. Contact Guild on 1800 810 213.
“THERE MAY SOMETIMES BE
A TEMPTATION TO IGNORE
A COMPLAINT AND HOPE
IT WILL JUST GO AWAY.”
2/06/2015 3:27 pm
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