Published on July 12, 2022

How to Complain About Your Professional Healthcare

When it comes to our health and wellbeing, it’s important that we get the best care possible. But many people aren’t sure what to do when it comes to making a complaint. 

If you’re still in hospital/care

If you’re currently in hospital or have a relative in a care home, then you need to find the person at the facility responsible for patient complaints. Ask to speak to them in the first instance and bring any issues with your care or the facilities to their attention. 

Keep a note of the time, date, and content of the conversation you have with them in case you need it later. If this doesn’t improve your situation then tell them you would like to escalate your complaint. If you’re dealing with this on behalf of an elderly relative then you may wish to contact a company that represents neglected seniors as they will have experience in this area. 

If you’re in an HMO

Your HMO card will include details on how to complain about a facility or healthcare professional in your network and be able to guide you through the process. The process differs slightly from state to state. 

If you’ve been discriminated against

If you believe that you have received poor care due to your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic, then you should report this to the facility immediately. 

It is against the law for them to treat you differently directly due to any protected characteristic. 

Medical negligence or malpractice

These are extremely serious allegations to make and you will need to take specialist legal advice before pursuing a complaint about negligence or malpractice. These allegations are taken very seriously and can have huge consequences if a practitioner or facility is found guilty. 

Complaining about different types of medical professional

Unless you have a complaint that needs to lodge directly with the police (e.g., for assault), then many different specialties have their own organizational bodies which you can contact. These include the Board of Nursing, Board of Medical Practice, and the Board of Optometry, etc. 

Visit their websites to find out the procedure for lodging a complaint about one of their members. 

Tips on successful complaints

In complex cases, you’re going to need specialist legal and medical advice to make sense of many of the details of your complaint. However, in other cases, there are things you can do to help the process. This involves ensuring that you go through the proper channels of lodging a formal complaint, record any contact that you have with the doctor and facility. If the complaint relates to standards of care or the condition of the hospital, take photographic evidence or have a family member or friend do it for you. 

You may have mixed feelings about launching a formal complaint against a healthcare provider. After all, they do take care of the health of many people, but if your complaint is valid, then you should make sure that it is heard. 

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