5 tips if someone complains

No matter how thorough you are in your medical practice, it’s possible that at some point someone will complain about you.

If that happens, the Health Care Complaints Commission or NSW Medical Council will contact with you. Don’t panic!

Here’s five tips for dealing with a complaint:

  1. Ring your medical indemnity insurer for support and advice. Your insurer is experienced in complaints management and will help you through the process.
     
  2. Do not try to contact the complainant once a formal complaint has been made. Allow the health regulators to work through the assessment and conciliation process.
     
  3. Get help writing your response letter. When a complaint is made, you’ll be asked to provide a written response. Your letter may be shown to the complainant and will also be used by the Medical Council or the Health Care Complaints Commission when they consider what will happen next. Your medical indemnity insurer can help you prepare your response, ensuring it adequately addresses the issue and clearly represents your perspective of what happened.
     
  4. Don’t ignore what’s happening. It’s tempting to ignore the complaint and hope it goes away, but if you work with the regulators appointed to assess the complaint, the issue will be handled faster and with less personal stress.
     
  5. Seek personal support.
    - Talk with family or a trusted friend about what is happening and how you are feeling.
    - Seek the support of your GP and take the opportunity to have a general health check.
    - Use the internet. There are many online and phone support services, such as the Doctor’s Health Advisory Service, the Medical Benevolent Association of NSW, beyondblue and Lifeline.