How to handle complaints effectively

Complaints are inevitable, but the College's Clinical Adviser Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom offers advice on how to defuse them.

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How many of you have had a patient complain about you, or about something that you have done? As those of you who have heard my record-keeping talk will know, I have. Regardless of whether the complaint is justified or not, how you deal with it is vital in determining whether or not it escalates further. Firstly it is important to apologise. You can do this without admitting ‘guilt’, as you are demonstrating that you have empathy with the patient, and understand that they are upset/annoyed, etc.

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