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23rd July 2021

Complaints: Care Worker Information

Service users and their loved ones have a right to expect certain standards of care, and a right to complain if things aren't right.

What is a complaint?

An expression or statement of dissatisfaction that requires a response (Healthcare Commission, 2008).

This can be about:

  • An action
  • A lack of action, or
  • About the standard of service provided by (or on behalf of) an organisation

According to The Health Act 2004, a complaint is any action of the service provider which:

  1. Adversely affects the person by whom (or on whose behalf) the complaint is made
  2. Does not accord with fair or sound administrative practice

Who can make a complaint?

  • A service user, or their close relative or carer
  • A legal representative or court of law appointee
  • Any other person who has the service user’s consent

In the case of a deceased service user, a complainant may be:

A parent, guardian, son, daughter, spouse or cohabitant of the deceased (Health Act, 2004)

Why do people complain?

Expectations not met

Lack of control

Unhappy about a situation

Be understanding:

  • Dealing with unsatisfactory care and making a complaint can be daunting for service users and families
  • Be proactive before complaints happen; ask if everything is ok
  • Get to know service users and establish good relationships with them and their families

What to do if someone complains:

  • Always thank them for raising their concern
  • Tell them you are sorry that they have had a negative experience
  • Be respectful and helpful
  • Be calm, positive and professional
  • Do not argue, even if you think the complaint is unjustified
  • Do not investigate the complaint yourself; tell your line manager about the complaint ASAP
  • Follow Company policy and procedure


You represent the Company and the health and social care profession

The Company views complaints positively; they are a chance to improve

You must always tell your manager if there has been a complaint

If unsure, always ask your manager for advice

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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