Public complaints (DHW 2021-22 Annual Report)

Number of public complaints reported

Number of public complaints reported
Complaint categories Sub-categories Example Number of Complaints 2021-22
Professional behaviour Staff attitude Failure to demonstrate values such as empathy, respect, fairness, courtesy, extra mile; cultural competency 1080
Professional behaviour Staff competency Failure to action service request; poorly informed decisions; incorrect or incomplete service provided 139
Professional behaviour Staff knowledge Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge 0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 959
Communication Confidentiality Customer’s confidentiality or privacy not respected; information shared incorrectly 165
Service delivery Systems/technology System offline; inaccessible to customer; incorrect result/information provided; poor system design 299
Service delivery Access to services Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities 124
Service delivery Process Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive 67
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 14
Service quality Access to information Information difficult to understand, hard to find or difficult to use; not plain English 20
Service quality Timeliness Lack of staff punctuality; excessive waiting times (outside of service standard); timelines not met 1523
Service quality Safety Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness 178
Service quality Service responsiveness Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations 341
No case to answer No case to answer Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate 0
    Total 4909

Additional metrics:

  • Number of positive feedback comments  6252
  • Number of negative feedback comments  8462
  • Total number of feedback comments*  15821
  • %  of complaints resolved within policy timeframes  80.82%

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 information and complaint categories have been mapped as closely as possible to the report against these categories specified by Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Data for previous years is available at Data SA.

Service improvements

SA Health encourages patients, consumers, families, carers and the community to provide feedback. We want to hear what is good, what is bad and what we can do to make the health care services better. Feedback drives safety and quality improvement in our health care services.

In March 2021, the *SA Health Consumer, Carer and Community Feedback and Complaints Management Strategic Framework, Guide and Resources were released. The framework enables consumers, carers and the community to contribute to improving health care services through open communication and shared learning.

The Your feedback is important information sheet provides information to consumers on the complaints management process, and list of contacts for each health care service.

An information sheet on writing a letter or email of complaints to your health service provider is also available.

As part of the annual Service Level Agreements with the Local Health Networks (LHNs), Safety and Quality Account reports are to be submitted to the Department for Health and Wellbeing.  LHNs provide an overview of their complaints management system 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.

LHNs and SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) have implemented many service improvements across their network from consumer feedback and complaints within this period. Examples of service improvements will be reported in their individual annual reports.

Compliance Statement

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

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