Managing a complaint or notification
As the peak professional body for physiotherapy in Australia, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is committed to supporting our members in providing safe and quality services in a professional and ethical manner.
What do I do if I receive a complaint?
Clients who are dissatisfied with their health service or treatment have a right to complain about their care. APA advises complainants that complaints relating to the immediate health or safety of a person should be made without delay. Complaints about sexual or physical assault are lodged with the police.
Complaints lodged with regulation bodies
If the complainant has lodged the complaint with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or the state or territory Health Complaints Entity (HCE), you should contact your insurance company immediately. APA members should also contact the APA and inform us of the notification (contact details below). APA also advises you to contact AHPRA or the HCE as soon as possible, comply with the notification and seek independent legal advice.
Complaints lodged with APA
APA also receives complaints about members. In this case we may need to contact you further.
What is the complaints procedure?
The APA has a governance structure in place to consider and hear complaints about our members. An advisory committee, National Professional Standards Panel (NPSP), oversees the governance and reports to the Board. This Panel also executes a complaints procedure and makes recommendations to the Board on outcomes of complaints. The hearing of formal complaints about APA members follows the APA’s approved procedure for managing complaints.
What do I do next?
Here are some other suggestions on how to best manage a complaint made against you and lodged with the APA.
- Refer to the APA Code of Conduct and AHPRA’s codes and guidelines to make sure you are complying with your professional requirements
- Many physiotherapy services and organisations have a policy and procedure in place to guide complaints management. Please refer to these operational documents to help you map out your response to the complainant.
- If you do not have a policy and procedure to guide your response, it is a good idea to firstly discuss the complaint with the complainant, or to see whether they can work with you to resolve the complaint. The Royal Australian College of General practitioners (RACGP), have developed a resource that often help health providers manage complaints.
- Acknowledge the client’s right to complain
- Provide information about the complaints system
- Work with the client to resolve the issue, locally where possible
- Provide a prompt, open and constructive response, including an explanation and, if appropriate, an apology
- Ensure the complaint does not adversely affect the client’s care. In some cases, it may be advisable to refer the client to another physiotherapist.
- If the complainant does not respond to your attempts to resolve the situation please refer to the APA Complaints management and hearing procedures. This will explain how we manage the process following a complaint lodged with the APA.
- In any event that you suspect may give rise to a complaint, contact your professional indemnity insurer.
Contacts for APA and managing complaints
Please address correspondence to NPSP Manager.
- Phone: 1300 306 622
- Mail: PO Box 437 Hawthorn BC VIC 3122
- NPSP Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
RACGP Standards for General Practice 4th edition 2013. Standard 2.1 Criterion 2.1.2 http://www.racgp.org.au/standards/212
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