Public complaints (DHW 2022-23 Annual Report)

Number of public complaints reported across the SA Health portfolio

Number of public complaints reported
Complaint categories Sub-categories Example Number of Complaints 2022-23
Professional behaviour Staff attitude Failure to demonstrate values such as empathy, respect, fairness, courtesy, extra mile; cultural competency 1,009
Professional behaviour Staff competency Failure to action service request; poorly informed decisions; incorrect or incomplete service provided 82
Professional behaviour Staff knowledge Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge 0
Communication Communication quality Inadequate, delayed or absent communication with customer 1,556
Communication Confidentiality Customer’s confidentiality or privacy not respected; information shared incorrectly 128
Service delivery Systems/technology System offline; inaccessible to customer; incorrect result/information provided; poor system design 243
Service delivery Access to services Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities 147
Service delivery Process Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive 55
Policy Policy application Incorrect policy interpretation; incorrect policy applied; conflicting policy advice given 0
Policy Policy content Policy content difficult to understand; policy unreasonable or disadvantages customer 0
Service quality Information Incorrect, incomplete, out dated or inadequate information; not fit for purpose 16
Service quality Access to information Information difficult to understand, hard to find or difficult to use; not plain English 9
Service quality Timeliness Lack of staff punctuality; excessive waiting times (outside of service standard); timelines not met 1,154
Service quality Safety Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness 225
Service quality Service responsiveness Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations 536
No case to answer No case to answer Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate 0

Additional metrics:

  • Number of positive feedback comments  7,055
  • Number of negative feedback comments  8,897
  • Total number of feedback comments  15,952
  • % complaints resolved within policy timeframes  84.91%

All consumer feedback, including complaints, compliments, advice and suggestions are recorded in the SA Health Safety Learning System (SLS) Consumer Feedback module.

SLS classifications are based on the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights, mapped to the South Australian Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) Charter of Rights. The complaint categories have been mapped as closely as possible to the report against the categories specified by Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Data for previous years is available at Data SA.

Public Complaints Service Improvements

SA Health encourages patients, consumers, families and carers to provide feedback in a variety of ways. Feedback in the form of compliments, comments and complaints provides valuable data about what we are doing right and where we have an opportunity to make health care services better. Feedback drives quality improvement in our health care services to meet the needs of South Australian communities. Many service improvements have been reported from across the network as a result of consumer feedback from this period, as reported in their individual annual reports.

The SA Health Consumer, Carer and Community Feedback and Complaints Management Strategic Framework 2021-2024, Guide and Resources outlines responsibilities to strengthen and improve consumer, carer and community feedback and complaints management. The framework guides consumers, carers and the community on how to contribute to improving health care services through open communication and shared learning.

The SA Health Consumer, Carer and Community Feedback and Complaints Management Strategic Framework 2021-2024 has been evaluated in consultation with SA Health consumer advisory and engagement staff and consumers. A revised Framework will be released by the end of 2023.

The Your feedback is important information sheet (PDF 980KB) provides information to consumers on the complaints management process, and a directory of contacts for each health care service. Information on writing a letter or email of complaints to your health service provider (PDF 60KB) is another resource available to consumers via the SA Health website.

The Your Rights and Responsibilities information booklet outlines the Charter for Consumers of the South Australian Public Health System and is inclusive of a directory of consumer charters to support seniors, NDIS, Aboriginal, mental health and child and youth consumers, to actively participate in their own health care and feel encouraged to provide feedback on the care they receive.

The South Australian Consumer Experience Surveillance System (SACESS) is a telephone service to collect information on the experience of South Australian adults, aged 16 years or more who have received inpatient care. This information is reported annually in Measuring Experience Reports on the SA Health website. This includes inclusive of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as well as our Cultural and Linguistically Diverse consumers following an inpatient stay in one of our hospitals.

SA Health receive information on patient’s comments monthly and quarterly reports, proving information on where they are doing well or areas that need improvement. This enables them to work with consumers toward better patient experiences and outcomes, examples of improvement will be reported in their individual annual reports.

SA Health submit a Safety and Quality Account Report as part of their annual Service Agreement with the Department for Health and Wellbeing. This report provides an overview of their consumer engagement and complaints management, including:

  • performance in relation to feedback from patients, carers, families and the community about their experience and outcome of care
  • aggregate and trend analysis of all complaints
  • timeliness of acknowledgement and resolution of consumer feedback
  • how information from analysis of consumer feedback informs improvements in safety and quality systems
  • effectiveness and accessibility of patients, carers, families and member of the community to provide feedback
  • demonstrating consistency with best practice principles.

The introduction of the Patient Reported Measures (PRMs) project will give patients, consumers and carers the opportunity to provide more ‘real-time’ feedback, allowing for a shorter response time across all services. Consumer education and resources are being developed to support ease of accessibility for users.

Compliance Statement

The Department for Health and Wellbeing is compliant with Premier and Cabinet Circular 039 – complaint management in the South Australian public sector - Yes

The Department for Health and Wellbeing has communicated the content of PC 039 and the agency’s related complaints policies and procedures to employees - Yes