Commenting or making a complaint about a service

If you are feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with the way you are being cared for or treated then making a complaint is a reasonable way of letting this be known. You can use Power Tool 9 to help you do this.

It is OK to make a complaint about something, however unimportant it may seem. If it is important for you then it matters. Or, you may just have a comment or suggestion to make about how you would like to see things done differently.

There may also be times when you want to express how good a service has been for you. This can be a valuable process of acknowledging how you feel about something that has really helped you. It will also be very valued by those responsible for the service.

You have a right to be treated and cared for in the best way possible. You have a right to be protected from mistreatment, neglect or any kind of attack on who you are. If you are subjected to mistreatment of any kind you have the right to complain about it and for your complaint to be taken seriously.

There are two different ways you can make a complaint:

• Informally – by finding someone to talk to about the issue and then getting their help in sorting it out. This is usually the best place to start. You should be able to talk to a staff member or the unit manager if you want to make a complaint.

• Formally – by using your unit’s official complaints procedure.

You can do either of these by yourself or with the help of someone else (like a parent, friend or advocate).

If you are unhappy with how your complaint has been dealt with, you can contact the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. See Links for contact details.

Before complaining it is good to be clear with yourself:

• The facts of what has happened

• Who has been involved

• Was anyone else there and did they see or hear what happened?

• Your feelings about what has happened

• What you would like to see change as a result of your complaint (not just your view on what is wrong)

Your complaint has more chance of being heard and dealt with if you express it sooner rather than later.

All patients should be given information and a leaflet on how to make a comment or complaint about their unit, so you should ask for this.
Comments or complaints can be useful for your unit as they can show them where they could be doing things better.

There may also be a suggestion box on your unit.