Complaints Numbers and Actions Taken

Listening to and acting on feedback from our patients, their families and their carers about our health services is one of the most important aspects of delivering high quality care.

Complaints about provision of health care services can be made by anyone who has contact with our services. People who complain often have some basic expectations, they want to:

  • be heard and understood
  • be respected
  • be taken seriously
  • be given support or assistance if required
  • have their concerns dealt with effectively and efficiently
  • be informed of the process, progress, findings and outcome
  • have appropriate action taken as a result of their complaint.

Communication issues underpin most complaints we receive, and most people who submit a complaint are simply looking for an explanation or apology. Another common motivation behind complaints is to prevent the same thing happening to others. This is why acknowledging complaints promptly and letting people know what's been done to prevent it happening again is so important.

The complaint management process is not intended to apportion blame but strives to resolve the complaint, if possible, and identify any aspects of service delivery which require change in order to effect improvement.

Measuring complaints numbers and actions taken

The Health and Disability Services Complaints Act 1995 and Regulations 2010 legislate for the annual provision of information relating to complaints received by the health service provider, and action taken, to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office.

The key issues associated with a complaint about our health service are determined by EMHS staff in discussion with the person making the complaint. Identifying the issues in the complaint provides for effective resolution and allows all parties to have an understanding of the issues raised. Each complaint received must have at least one complaint issue identified, with the possibility for multiple issues to be identified in one complaint. Similarly each complaint will have at least one resolution achieved, with the possibility of multiple resolutions being achieved for one complaint.


Complaint numbers

How do we measure up

The graphs below show the combined complaints numbers for the EMHS hospitals:

  • Armadale Health Service
  • Kalamunda Hospital
  • Bentley Hospital
  • Royal Perth Hospital

Chart 1: EMHS quarterly complaints July 2018 to June 2019

Graph: EMHS quarterly complaints July 2018 to July 2019

What the figures mean

This graph shows the number of complaints received by EMHS service each quarter over the last year.


Complaint issues

How do we measure up

The graph below shows the combined ‘top three’ categories of complaint issues for the EMHS hospitals:

  • Armadale Health Service
  • Kalamunda Hospital
  • Bentley Hospital
  • Royal Perth Hospital

Chart 2: EMHS total ‘top three’ categories of complaint issues July 2018 to June 2019

Graph: top three complaint issues July 2018 to June 2019
*Note: One complaint may be related to more than one issue, so the count of issues may be greater than the number of complaints.

What the figures mean

The three most common categories of complaint issues were ‘Quality of clinical care’, ‘Access’ and ‘Communication’. Between them, these accounted for about 70% of all issues. Within each of these categories, the most common causes of complaint were:

‘Quality of clinical care’ (33.3% of all complaints):

  • Inadequate treatment/therapy (34%)
  • Discharge or transfer arrangements (21%)
  • Inadequate assessment (21%)

‘Access’ (22.4% of all complaints):

  • Delay in admission/treatment (30%)
  • Waiting list delay (25%)
  • Inadequate resources/lack of service (22%)

‘Communication’ (14% of all complaints):

  • Misinformation/failure in communication (not failure to consult) (42%)
  • Inappropriate verbal/non-verbal communication (19%)
  • Failure to listen to consumer/representative/carer/family (14%)

Complaint resolutions

How do we measure up

The graph below shows the combined ‘Top three’ resolutions to complaints for the EMHS hospitals:

  • Armadale Health Service
  • Kalamunda Hospital
  • Bentley Hospital
  • Royal Perth Hospital

Chart 3: EMHS total ‘Top three’ complaint resolutions July 2018 to June 2019

Graph: top three complaint resolutions July 2018 to June 2019
*Note: One complaint may have more than one resolution, so the count of resolutions may be greater than the number of complaints.

What the figures mean

The most common resolution of complaints was Apology provided, Explanation provided and Concern registered. These are the same ‘Top three’ as in 2017/18.

Last Updated: 28/08/2019