Instructions for filing complaints, for their acceptance, recording, handling and storing at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Complaint filing procedure
At the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (hereinafter “IKEM”) all complaints including those concerning a procedure of providing healthcare services or activities related to healthcare services can be submitted at sectors, centres, offices and divisions of IKEM (hereinafter “units”) or directly at the Inspection and Complaint Division that serves at the Institute for keeping central records of complaints (address: IKEM, Odbor interního auditu a kontroly (Internal Audit and Control Division), Vídeňská 1958/9, 140 21 Praha 4, location: 5. floor, IKEM, door No. B 5024) and the complaints should include a name if possible (i.e. should not be anonymous) as some additional information may be needed for further investigation. For this reason, it is advised to always provide some contact information (at least an e-mail address). The patient, legal representative of the patient, a close relation or a person empowered by the patient may file a complaint regarding a procedure of providing healthcare services or activities related to healthcare services. At IKEM, filing a complaint is by no means to the detriment of the patient nor is the person who filed it directly affected by the complaint.
What a complaint could (should) contain
Applicable legal regulations do not stipulate any formal or material elements of complaints that would condition the validity of complaints. In the interest of due investigation of the filed complaint, the subject should be sufficiently explained (for example any conduct, behaviour, act, or the unit or specific person concerned by the complaint should be named, etc.). It is advisable and desirable to support every claim in a demonstrable manner if possible or at least duly explain/describe it. If the complaint is not specific or does not contain sufficient information necessary for investigation, IKEM will ask the complaining person to amend the complaint (if not anonymous) in order to allow its thorough investigation and to determine the actual situation. The Internal Audit and Control Division (hereinafter “IACD”) prefers personal discussions that usually make the investigation of the complaint more effective. Personal discussions are always held if requested by the complaining person. A record is made of them, which is presented to participants of the discussion and is signed by them. After verifying the gained information studying appropriate documents, a report on the undertaken investigation of the complaint is prepared and submitted to the director for approval. After its approval, the conclusions of the investigation are notified to the complaining person, who is then given the possibility to express their opinion.
How the units or the Inspection and Complaint Division proceed in the course of acceptance, recording, handling and storing of complaints
A written complaint is received by the given unit or IACD (IACD receives complaints from the secretariat of the director or another unit of IKEM); in the course of investigating the complaint, the unit or IACD proceeds pursuant to Section 175 (where: The affected persons have the right to address determined units with complaints regarding unsuitable behaviour of IKEM employees or regarding the procedure of handling a complaint if the law does not provide another remedy. The act of filing the complaint must not cause detriment to the complaining person; responsibility for any crime or administrative offence is not affected by this provision. The complaint can be submitted in writing or orally; if submitted orally and the complaint cannot be handled immediately, a written record shall be made. The complaint should be filed with the above-mentioned units that conduct the procedure. These units are obliged to examine the facts mentioned in the complaint. If deemed suitable, they shall hear the complaining person, persons concerned by the complaint and/or any other persons that may contribute to explanation of the matter. The complaint must be settled within 60 days from its delivery. The complaining person must be informed about its settlement within the same period of time. The determined period of time may be exceeded only if the materials needed to settle the complaint cannot be obtained during this period of time. If the complaint is found reasonable or partially reasonable, the head employee shall immediately take any necessary remedial measures. A record shall be made in the file about the investigation results and about adopted remedial measures; the complaining person shall be notified only if they requested to be informed. If the complaining person believes that the complaint filed by the same has not been duly settled, the complaining person may ask the supervising administrative body to re-examine the settlement process.) of Act No. 500/2004 Coll., the Administrative Procedure Code, as amended (hereinafter the “Administrative Procedure Code”), and furthermore pursuant to Section 93 et seq. (where: The following persons may file a complaint regarding the procedure of the provider in the course of providing healthcare services or of performing activities related to healthcare services:
a) The patient;
b) Legal representative or guardian of the patient;
c) Close relation if the patient is unable to do so given the patient’s health condition or if the patient has died; or
d) Any person empowered by the patient.
The complaint shall be submitted to the provider concerned by the complaint; the option of filing a complaint pursuant to other legal regulation shall remain unaffected. The act of submitting the complaint must not be detrimental for the submitting person or for the patient concerned.
If the person submitting a complaint to the provider (hereinafter the “Complaining Person”) does not agree with the settlement of the complaint, the complaining person may submit a complaint to the appropriate administrative body that has authorised the given provider to provide healthcare services. At the same time, the complaining person shall give reasons why they do not agree with the settlement of the complaint by the provider.
The provider shall:
a) Propose to the complaining person oral investigation of the complaint if suitable with respect to the nature of the complaint;
b) Handle the complaint within 30 days from its receipt; this period may be extended by an additional 30 days in justified cases; if the provider is not competent to handle the complaint, the provider shall demonstrably submit the complaint to the competent person within 5 days from its receipt; the provider shall inform the complaining person about extending the period and about submitting the complaint to another person;
c) Keep records of submitted complaints and the ways of their settlement;
d) Enable the complaining person to look into the specific complaint file and make copies of the same;
e) If the complaint is investigated by an appropriate administrative body, the provider shall provide timely and necessary collaboration upon request; the same shall also apply to any provider who has provided any related healthcare services.
Furthermore, the provider of bed or one-day care shall:
a) Prepare the procedure for the handling of complaints;
b) Publish the procedure as per (a) and the information about the option of filing a complaint with persons listed in paragraph 2 at a place accessible to the public within the medical facility and at its website) of Act No. 372/2011 Coll. on health services and the terms and conditions for the provision of such services (hereinafter the “Act on Health Services“) and an internal organisational guideline. IACD employees shall register the complaint, review the same upon its receipt in terms of its contents and decide on how the complaint shall be handled.
All complaints shall be settled within 30 days from their delivery to IKEM; in justified cases, IKEM may extend this period by an additional 30 days. If IKEM is not competent to handle the complaint, IKEM shall demonstrably submit the complaint to the competent person within 5 days from its receipt. IKEM shall inform the complaining person about any extension of the period of time and about forwarding the complaint. The complaining person may look into the specific complaint file and make copies thereof. The complaining person shall be informed about settlement of the complaint.
If the contents of the complaint concerns a procedure of providing healthcare services or activities related to healthcare services, the complaint shall be investigated by the head employee of the given unit (direct supervisor of the given unit) or IACD in cooperation with the responsible head employee of the given specialised unit concerned by the complaint. If the patient’s consent is necessary in the course of handling the complaint, the consent shall be requested in writing before initiating the investigation. The handling of complaints follows from appropriate medical documentation, statements of doctors, of the nursing personnel, and from other written materials related to the subject of the given procedure. The investigation shall be closed by preparing a written report for the director; the complaining persons will be informed about its result after the report is approved by the director.
If the content of the complaint informs about improper management of financial or material resources, suspected corruption conduct or other economic offences or crimes, IACD personnel shall initiate an inspection procedure at IKEM. Besides other measures, all relevant documents qualified to confirm or disprove the contested facts shall be secured in the course of investigation on site. If necessary for due investigation of the complaint, a statement or additional information shall be requested directly from the complaining person. Based on the secured documents and obtained information, the “Conclusion of the undertaken investigation” shall be written and submitted to the director of IKEM. Upon its approval by the director, the complaining person shall be informed about the settlement of the complaint.
If the complaining person does not agree with the conclusions of the investigation, they are entitled to submit a complaint to the appropriate administrative body (for IKEM, it is the Municipal Authority of Prague). If a repeated complaint is submitted, the complaining person shall be informed that if the complaint contains no new facts, its acceptance will not be confirmed and it will not be investigated again by IKEM.
Written complaints without identification information of the complaining person (hereinafter “Anonymous”) shall be immediately forwarded to the Inspection and Control Division, where they shall be investigated without any delay provided that their contents are serious and given their nature, any delayed investigation would not be effective. In other cases the complaints shall be forwarded to appropriate units for their opinion. Their investigation, if useful, shall only occur in the course of undertaken audits or inspections pursuant to the Financial Control Act.
When a complaint is submitted to IACD by phone, an employee of IACD shall listen to the complaining person and shall make a written record of the submitted complaint (the complaining person is also recommended to send the complaint to IKEM address in writing). Information about complaints submitted by phone shall not be confirmed in writing by IKEM. Considering its content, the complaint shall be investigated by IACD or forwarded to the appropriate unit for its opinion and handling. Alternatively, the complaint shall only be recorded and used in inspection activities of IACD. The complaining person will be informed by phone about the settlement of the complaint if their telephone number is available, or in writing if their address is available. If the complaining person refuses to provide the name and address, the complaint shall be recorded and handled as anonymous.
When a complaint is submitted by e-mail (without electronic signature) the complaining person shall always be informed about receiving the complaint electronically and the complaint will be handled as written.
Complaints submitted by fax shall be registered and handled as sent in writing.
Complaints submitted during a personal visit of the complaining person at IACD shall be registered by making a written record including the first name, surname and address of the complaining person (or other contact information chosen for communication), signed by the complaining person and by an employee of IKEM. At the same time, the complaining person shall be informed about how the complaint will be investigated. If no contact information is provided and the complaining person refuses to sign the record, the complaint shall be handled as anonymous.
When a unit of IKEM receives a complaint directly from the complaining person and the content corresponds to the functional charge of the unit, the unit shall proceed in accordance with the above mentioned laws and internal regulations. At the same time, the unit shall be obliged, pursuant to the internal rules of IKEM, to inform IACD and to provide the complaint for its registration in the central records of complaints. IACD shall observe adherence to the given period of time in the course of investigating the complaint. If the content of the complaint does not correspond to the functional charge of the given unit, it shall be forwarded to IACD for handling in all cases.
In Prague, on 22 Apr 2015
MUDr. Aleš Herman, Ph.D., m.p. Director of IKEM