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10 practical tips on making a complaint about medical treatment

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    Making a complaint is never an easy process, particularly when it comes to your health and personal medical treatment, but following some practical tips can help in getting you towards the outcome you hope to achieve.

    By Kerstin Kubiak

As a medical negligence solicitor I often speak to clients who feel dissatisfied after making a complaint about medical treatment.   Many clients feel that the process was stressful and prolonged and in the end failed to resolve their issues or answer any of their questions.

My suggestions may seem simple, but for those clients who described the best outcomes to making a complaint about medical treatment to me, they also described many of these techniques:-

1. KEEPING CALM

People will listen to you more carefully and take your views more seriously than if you shout or become agitated. I know it’s a lot easier said than done in emotive situations, but it will get you much further.

2. BEING CLEAR

Collate your thoughts and think about what you want to say before you say it; that way you will create a much stronger impression.

3. BEING POLITE

Rudeness rarely helps and is only likely to “get the back up” of those who you’re trying to communicate with and seek help from.

4. GETTING TO THE POINT

If you ramble off course or go into every minute detail your key points will get lost; being succinct will focus minds on the important aspects of your complaint.

5. KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT

Think about what you want the outcome of your complaint to be and set that out clearly when making your complaint.

6. SPEAKING TO THE RIGHT PERSON

Speaking to someone without authority to progress matters or someone who cannot make a difference will delay getting to your end goal.  Ensure the person you’re speaking to can actually help.

7. FOLLOWING UP ORAL COMPLAINTS IN WRITING

This way you can put down exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it, it gives you control and provides a clear version of your account of events. It will also trigger a written response in return.

8. KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS!

See the NHS guidance on making a complaint at your local hospital and contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), if available.  Your GP practice should also have a complaints manager who can assist you.

9. BEING PROMPT AND WITHIN TIME LIMITS

Your complaint should be made within 12 months of the event taking place. Making a complaint early will mean events are fresh in everyone’s minds.

10. SEEKING EXPERT ADVICE

Don’t feel that you are on your own. There are agencies who will assist you with your complaint, such as ICAS.  If you have concerns about your medical treatment and you think you have suffered injury as a result then you should also contact a specialist clinical negligence lawyer, such as the lawyers in the Clinical Negligence Team.  Making a complaint about medical treatment is a separate process to making a clinical negligence claim for compensation, and we can advise you on your options and the best way to proceed to achieve the outcome you want.

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  1. Pingback: Healthcare Ombudsman investigates poor medical care

  2. Pingback: Recent report on complaints about hospital care - Clinical Negligence Team

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