There are many reasons why doctors working as locums may be more at risk of receiving a complaint. Sara Chambers, NASGP’s appraisal and revalidation lead, and Charlotte Hudson, writer at MPS, provide tips on protecting yourself from complaints and the current complaints process.
The key to most complaints is how they are handled early on at a local level. According to MPS in their helpful complaints series, studies show that most complainants have altruistic motives. An early, sincere apology showing an understanding of the problem that the patient experienced, and demonstrating that changes are in place to prevent it happening again, will often satisfy the complainant. In some cases, this will also lead to positive changes in practice – the ideal outcome for all.
Failure to fully get to grips with the complaint can lead to escalation to an independent review. Often, the Ombudsman finds that the reason for the original complaint is not upheld, but poor handling of the complaint process itself becomes the main problem experienced by the complainant. Very sad if you consider the additional stress and workload experienced by the staff involved.