Patient Complaints


  • The vast majority of problems occur because of poor communication rather than poor management

  • Always deal with complaints (no matter how trivial or vexatious) seriously and promptly

  • Contact a senior if you require assistance

  • Document the issue carefully

Common situations arising to complaints

  • Lack of courtesy/Rudeness

  • Lack of explanation

  • Inappropriate discharge

Exacerbating issues

  • Gossiping in view of patient

  • Eating/Drinking in clinical areas

Dealing with a complaint

A formal written complaint is more likely to arise if the patient feels their concerns have been unacknowledged or belittled

  • Acknowledge and be empathic with concerns
  • Explain possible causes for the issue
  • Reassure that genuine problems will be investigated further
  • Follow-up serious events with a phone call in 48 hours
Disclaimer: Note: The information described here relates solely to operational matters in the Emergency Department.  Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the content. However, neither the author or the hospital will take responsibility for errors resulting from its use.  Please refer to your own departmental guidelines and verify all clinical decisions with a reliable source.  

Date Last Reviewed: 05/08/2004