Do’s and don’ts of good complaint handling

DO’S

  • Complete a thorough and detailed patient consent – ensure you have enough time to obtain the information you require from the patient, their full history and whether there are any contraindications of the treatment they have come in for.
  • Retain clear and concise patient records with before and after photographs – these should be kept securely for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Manage the patient’s expectations – from the consultation process to throughout the treatment, by ensuring they fully understand what result the treatment will provide them with. In addition, by talking with them you will be able to understand if they are hoping to achieve the same results.
  • Have an internal complaints process – from a professional point of view, whether you are an individual practitioner or working within a clinic environment, if you have a complaints procedure then the consumer will feel like their voice and opinion matters which can often be half the problem.
  • Notify your insurers if you have any concerns or do not know how to respond – your insurer will be in a position to advise you of ways to resolve a complaint.

DON’TS

  • Assume you’ll remember it later – always ensure you take the time to complete a detailed consent and full patient history. Clearly record everything discussed during the consultation process.
  • Risk your business image over one treatment – patient selection is so important. If at any point throughout the consultation process you have any concerns or you have a gut feeling that something is not right, Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance would advise not to treat the patient. Although you might need the income, in the long term if a claim is raised, you will end up financially worse off. Depending on the treatment you may also be required to pay an excess.
  • Be wary of offering promotional offers – often if you have a high take up of the offer, corners are cut due to not having the resources to deal with the intake. If you do run a promotion make sure that you are able to provide the same thorough consultation and ensure that the the patient is still suitable for the procedure. Make sure you complete all of your paperwork in the same way too.
  • Admit liability – if a patient is making accusations, even if a mistake was made, it is important that you do not make any admission of liability via text, email or verbally. By admitting liability, you can prejudice the insurers position if a formal claim is made which they may have been able to deny.
  • If you have been in discussions with your insurers – do not disclose this to the patient – even if you are just getting advice and do not feel any formal claim may be made, by suggesting to the patient you have obtained advice, it may give them the impression that you think you have done something wrong and in turn encourage them to raise a formal claim.
  • Enter into any correspondence with the patient – if they have made a request for compensation either directly or via a solicitors letter or threatened legal action, we would ask that you speak to us in the first instance to obtain advice. It is important that you do not engage in correspondence with them prior to this in case it prejudices the insurer’s position and yours. We will guide you on how and what to say to the patient if it is required.

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