No news is… no news (10.12.2017)
Last month I wrote a short post about a letter I’d received, with an update on the status of my patient complaint. The letter was from the regional Service Quality & Complaints Commission, 39 days after they were supposed to have provided me with a conclusion to my complaint. I’ve been trying to stay positive about this process. I’m hoping that the delay means that they’re doing a very thorough review of my complaint. (Read Betrayal and Response time not met for details of that letter, and for the reasons I felt compelled to submit a complaint in the first place.)
Last weekend I had coffee with a friend, who’s been reading all my posts about this rare disease saga, and she asked me why it seemed that I’d been expecting delays with my complaint. And I realized that I hadn’t shared part of what I was told when the Commission first received my complaint, called a Dissatisfaction Form. So here goes, better late than never!
I submitted my complaint, by email, on August 15th. On August 21st I had a call from someone at the Commission, to advise me that they’d received my documents and would be looking into my complaint. During that call, the Commission representative explained that my complaint wouldn’t be treated as just one complaint.
My Dissatisfaction Form and additional documentation would be split into 3 different files – like investigations – within the regional Service Quality & Complaints Commission:
- The portion regarding the specialist physician would be handled by a Medical Examiner (not a coroner!), a physician within the regional health authority (a governmental body) who looks into any complaints about physicians who work at hospitals & other healthcare institutions within that region
- There was one part of my complaint about an orthopedic nurse, who worked as a team with the specialist at the hospital; that would handled by a team of the Commission which deals with complaints against nurses at any of the hospitals in our region
- And, finally, the Service Quality & Complaints Commission would look into the hospital outpatient clinic’s refusal to let me change physicians when I felt that the specialist wasn’t providing appropriate care. When I felt that my signs and symptoms were being ignored. (If you’d like to know the difference, read the post Sign or symptom? that I wrote back when I was only blogging about bioethics or medical ethics.)
She told me that I’d normally hear back from the Commission within 45 days, with a conclusion, but that the Commission could request an extension of an additional 15 days. And she explained that there were 2 goals for their patient dissatisfaction process:
- To find solutions to resolve any on-going or current problem within the institution (a hospital, in my case), that was raised in a complaint
- To recommend corrective measures to the hospital, if any were found to be appropriate
Because I knew, back in August, that my complaint was being split into 3 different files, I was expecting that there would be delays in receiving any conclusions of their investigations or reviews.
But at this point it’s been almost 4 months since I submitted my complaint, so I’m starting to feel that instead of “new news is good news”, no news is just… no news.