When Mint has stands at exhibitions and conferences we often take an example of our complaints poster. It is interesting to hear the response from people when they have a look at it:
As you can see it is designed to encourage feedback from patients – both positive and negative. This is the way in which you can learn and develop your practices. It is encouraged in the practice standards that you make patients aware of how they can give feedback about the service they receive. (D7)
One of the commonest reactions that I hear is ‘I don’t want to encourage people to complain’ or ‘I’ve got this far without any complaints, I’m not going to encourage them now’. I don’t know how this makes you feel, maybe your feelings resonate with those practitioners. I have to confess it gives me a sense of concern and disappointment. My inward response is ‘Have you got something to hide?’ ‘What would your patients be complaining about?’
For many practitioners they practice in fear. 22% of practitioners worry about their practice not being compliant, 25% would find it difficult to demonstrate compliance and 19% of osteopaths don’t fully comply with practice standards1. (Data is not available for other professions.)
These are the practitioners we are trying to reach out to with Mint.
We believe there is no need to practice in fear. Practitioners can have confidence in their clinics. That doesn’t mean that you will never receive a complaint or negative feedback. You will be equipped with the knowledge to confidently handle feedback, to manage complaints so they are quickly resolved satisfactorily. Feedback is a great way to develop your practice to make improvements in procedures and patient care. Good practices will always be striving to improve performance.
When you have sufficient knowledge and apply it to practice you can be confident in practice procedures. If trouble arises you will know how to take action, you will be able to easily produce the evidence of the care you provide, your practice procedures and comprehensive patient records. You will have the freedom to practice in an open and transparent manner.
It seems there are three different courses practitioners take in their career:
- Bury your head in the sand and hope that no-one notices you
- Practice defensively, ducking and diving to avoid any trouble, just hoping you never get caught out – seems like a career-long game of paintball to me – just hoping you can keep moving and avoiding getting hit!
- Get the knowledge you need to run your practice with confidence and ease – be equipped so that you can face whatever comes without fear – maybe a picture of a soldier with his full armour, a well-prepared athlete, a worker with all the tools they need – whatever picture best reflects your type of practice. This option enables you to enjoy your work, to practice without fear and anxiety enjoying a long and fulfilling career.
Which sounds most appealing to you?
Patients deserve consistently good care, and every practice should be able to deliver outstanding care with good knowledge and confidence in your practice. The Mint Folder is designed to equip you with that knowledge and confidence.
1 Exploring and explaining the dynamics of osteopathic regulation, professionalism and compliance with standards in practice. Report to the General Osteopathic Council, February 2015, Professor Gerry McGivern, Dr Michael Fischer, Dr Tomas Palaima, Zoey Spendlove, Dr Oliver Thomson and Professor Justin Waring