The purpose of this policy is to state how Fertility Solutions will deal with compliments, suggestions for improvement and complaints.
The Clinic welcomes and encourages our customers, patients, team members and external service providers to provide feedback, positive or constructive, to enable the clinic to review its practices, implement service improvement and enhance the patient experience and outcomes. Compliments, suggestions for improvement & complaints may be received in a variety of ways, in writing, via email, social media, verbally in person, by telephone, patient surveys and feedback forms collected by our Marketing & Business Development team.
Fertility Solutions is committed to receiving and acting on all feedback positive or negative and undertakes to investigate and resolve complaints in a fair, efficient and effective manner. This policy sets out our process for addressing compliments, suggestions for improvement and complaints. Fertility Solutions complies fully with any federal and state legislative requirements, industry standards and guidelines, accreditation and insurance requirements.
This policy applies to all activities across the Company and applies to all Fertility Solutions team members.
“Compliment” is an “expression of praise”. It is important that the systems for feedback also capture, aggregate, report and act on the positive aspects of the care process so that these may be enhanced and celebrated.
“Complaint” is an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.
“Complainant” is the person making the complaint regarding themselves, or as a third party on behalf of someone else (with their consent) – relative, friend, consumer advocate, guardian etc.
When a compliment is received, it will be forwarded to the person it relates, their Direct Manager and the Clinic Director. Compliments will be shared and celebrated! These will be tabled each month as part of the monthly staff meeting agenda. Compliments will also be reviewed and actioned with a view to continuous improvement and training opportunities.
Suggestions for Improvement
Suggestions for improvement will be forwarded to the Direct Manager of the service it relates to and the Clinic Director, for example if the suggestion relates to Nursing it will be nursing it will be sent to the Nurse Coordinator. Suggestions for improvement will be collated and added for discussion, assignment, and action to the Monthly Management meeting. All suggestions for improvement will receive written acknowledgement.
Where possible, all complaints should initially be raised at the point of service with the treating doctor, nurse, scientist, clinic director or administration manager or other treating allied health professional. Where this is not possible, complaints can be made directly to the Complaints Officer. Complaints can be lodged directly by the patient or, with the patient’s consent, can be made on behalf of the patient by any interested person such as a relative. Fertility Solutions encourages complaints to be submitted in writing using the Patient Feedback Form. The Patient Feedback form allows the Complaints Officer to collect specific details of the incident, conduct or behaviour giving rise to the complaint in a structured and consistent manner.
The Patient Feedback Form is in all consultation rooms at all clinics. The form can also be accessed on the Fertility Solutions Website (www.fertilitysolutions.com.au) or a copy can be emailed at any time by contacting the Clinic.
When a complaint is received in writing using the Patient Feedback Form, it will be handled by the Complaints Officer from start to finish, during the resolution process all parties involved will be consulted and the details of the complaint forwarded to the person it relates to and their Direct Manager.
In most circumstances, the Complaints Handling Officer will be Human Resources Representative who will act as an unbiased and central contact point within each office and for each party, unless that person has a real or perceived conflict of interest or if the complaint is about them, in which case the complaint will be handled by the Clinic Director or a suitable person appointed by the Clinic Director.
The Complaints Officer will always ensure that the issues and concerns being raised in complaints can be substantiated. This includes identifying appropriate and specific examples of those issues or concerns prior to any action being taken. Therefore; an initial investigation will always be completed prior to any action being taken. This initial investigation will include a review of Genie and a review of previous complaints to establish if there is an emerging pattern or policy/procedural problem that needs to be addressed. Where a complaint has been received in relation to a team member’s actions, performance or behaviour, the individual will always be given the opportunity to reply to the contents of the complaint as part of the investigation.
Assessment of Severity
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Complaints Officer will conduct an assessment of severity. This assessment will be completed within 10 days of receipt of the complaint. The severity level will determine exactly how the complaint will be addressed. If the Complaints Officer is unsure of the severity, the complaint will also be reviewed by the Clinic Director to determine the severity.
Complaints that have only minor impact on clinical outcomes should be able to be resolved at the point of service. The first member of staff approached by the patient has an important role in starting to resolve the complaint.
If you are the first member of staff approached by the patient, when receiving a complaint, the following steps will help to achieve a successful resolution:
• Do not send the complainant away without acknowledging the complaint or taking some action to help resolve the issue.
• Let the complainant know that you are there to assist them in resolving their concerns.
• Listen carefully to what is being said.
• Maintain normal eye contact and non-confrontational body language.
• Do not argue with the complainant, attempt to lay blame, or be defensive.
• Find out what the complainant would like to happen to resolve the complaint.
• Take steps to either resolve the problem or provide a copy of the Patient Feedback Form.
• Escalate to the Complaints officer if necessary.
Handling a complaint at the point of service gives the Clinic a chance to discuss and resolve the issue quickly and avoid the complaint turning into a dispute. If the complaint cannot be resolved at the point of service, or if it requires additional investigation and response, the patient should be advised to complete a Patient Feedback form and forward to the Complaints Officer.
If the complaint is resolved an email should be sent to the Complaints officer noting:-
• Patient Name
• Nature of Complaint
• Who was involved
The Complaints Officer can than monitor minor complaints for patterns, improvements, training needs or patients who may require additional care.
All complaints assessed as moderate are required to receive a written/or verbal communication of acknowledgement within 10 days from the date of complaint. Where an investigation is required it will be planned with a timeline established. It will be objective, impartial and managed confidentially in accordance with privacy obligations and aim to resolve factual issues and consider options for complaint resolutions, future improvements and coaching and training opportunities.
The response to the complaint will be timely, clear and informative. All complainants must be advised of the outcome of their complaint, either by phone, in person or in writing within 45 days of receipt of the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved within a 45-day time frame from receiving a complaint, the complaint handling officer will advise the complainant as such and provide information relating to the investigation of the complaint and maintain regular contact to advise of actions progressing towards resolution.
Resolution / closure may be achieved through the provision of information or an explanation of why things happened the way they did – together with an apology and recognition of the effect the situation had on the complainant. Complainants may also want an undertaking that action will be taken to prevent the problem recurring. This might include, for example, staff training; development of new procedure. Outcomes/Actions will always be conveyed to the patient. If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, internal review of the decision will be offered and information about external review options provided.
The Complaints Officer will assess, investigate and respond to the complaint.
SERIOUS COMPLAINTS & ADVERSE EVENTS
The Complaints Officer will enter the complaint into RiksMan the clinics notification software and advise the Directors immediately upon receipt of any complaint which is considered to be either a serious complaint or adverse event. At the Directors discretion, the Complaints Officer will seek advice from insurer’s AVANT before progressing or making contact with the patient. Based on the nature of the complaint and advice of the insurer Avant, a decision will be made by the Complaint’s Officer and Directors who is the best person to handle the complaint and how to progress.
Complaints that relate to a Data Breach, Breach of Privacy or Confidentiality will be assessed by the Complaints Officer and Administration Manager and resolved according to the Clinic’s Data Breach and Privacy Policies. Complaints received from the Office of the Health Ombudsman will not progress without advice from insurer Avant.
Review of Complaint Outcome
If a complainant remains dissatisfied, they should write within 30 days to the Complaints Officer providing reasons why they feel that the response is not satisfactory. In most cases, the complaint will be referred to the Medical Director for internal review. The Medical Director will prepare a response, usually within 30 days or receiving notification of the complainants’ dissatisfaction.
Complaints can also be made to the Office of the Health Ombudsman. The Office of the Health Ombudsman is Queensland’s health service complaints agency and is an independent statutory body and the one place all Queenslanders should go if they have a complaint about a health service provider or a health service provided to them, a family member or someone in their care.
Any health service complaints can be tabled with the Office of the Health Ombudsman.
The Office of the Health Ombudsman’s contact details:
• Telephone: 133 OHO (133 646)
• Website: www.oho.qld.gov.au