Complaints Handling Policy
Fair and Reasonable Treatment
We aim to investigate and resolve complaints fairly and efficiently. All those making a complaint will be treated fairly, with courtesy, consideration and respect. Most importantly we will ensure we maintain impartiality, confidentiality and transparency when we manage complaints. We will handle all records in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.
We recognise that some people have particular needs or require extra assistance in expressing a grievance or making a complaint. We will be flexible when dealing with complaints and use complaints handling methods that help us resolve issues as quickly as possible.
If you need assistance with English, you can telephone 131 450 for Translating and Interpreting Service National, which offers support for over 120 languages and dialects at any time of the day or night.
We seek to resolve complaints within 30 days of receipt of the complaint whenever possible. If a complaint takes longer than this to resolve, for example, if it is a very sensitive or complex matter, we will be transparent in our communication of the process and estimated timelines for resolution of the matter.
Accountability and Reporting
All Psychologists and Clinical Reception Staff are aware of the service standards and procedures set out in our practice management and policy manual and the Charter for Clients of APS Psychologists. The Practice Manager will regularly review complaints received and action taken to resolve the complaint. If the issue raised cannot be resolved at the time of receiving the complaint we will document the complaint from beginning to resolution, maintaining details regarding decisions and actions are taken on an official file.
Complaints Handling Process
Step One – Resolving the Matter at the Source
Addressing the issue directly with the individual with whom you have a complaint. Complaints at this level usually involve simple misunderstandings or provide an opportunity for a grievance to be heard. These will be dealt with informally your Psychologist or Clinical Reception Staff.
Referral to the Practice Manager/Senior Clinician
If a complaint can not be resolved directly the matter will be referred to the Practice Manager or next most senior clinical member. If referring a complaint to the Practice Manager would lead to a conflict of interest, the matter will be referred to the most senior staff member, who may appoint another person to address the complaint.
The role of the Practice Manager/Senior Clinician is to:
- help staff and people making a complaint in the complaints-handling process
- maintain a register of complaints received
- maintain and review our complaints-handling framework
- tell those involved of the receipt and outcome of formal complaints.
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of a complaint, which is not a privacy complaint, at any stage you are entitled to pursue an external method of review.
Avenues of external review or complaints handling can include (but are not limited to):
- mediation and arbitration
- the Commonwealth Ombudsman
- Australian Psychological Society
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
- While you are free to use these methods at any time, we strongly recommend you use our internal review before seeking independent assistance.
While we are committed to resolving complaints within 30 days whenever possible, external reviews will have their own timeframes.
Steps in the Complaints Handling Process
Your experience at our clinic is important to us. We will acknowledge your complaint and tell you the process we will follow to resolve it. We will also give you the contact details of the person who will be handling your complaint.
We will ask you to complete a complaints form or fill it out based on your reports so that we can work out the nature of the complaint and who is involved. Once these factors have been determined we will then work out the best way to resolve the issue.
Investigation if Complaint not able to be Resolved Informally
Simple and straightforward complaints can often be resolved on the first contact. If this isn’t possible and the complaint is referred to the Practice Manager, we will investigate to make sure that we have all the relevant information. This could include interviewing you and the staff member(s) involved and clearing up any misunderstandings, or seeking any legal advice.
We will inform you of the outcomes of any investigation once finished and let you know of the findings and decisions made and explain how we came to these conclusions. We will let you know what options are to have the findings review or to pursue your complaint externally.
Where complaints highlight systemic challenges of the clinic, we will use the information to review our polices and procedures and will endeavour to make some changes where possible and appropriate.
Please complete the form below if you would like to lodge a complaint, your feedback will enable us to resolve your issue and continue to improve our services.