Writing a letter of complaint to a hospital is an effective way to gain personal satisfaction and communicate information for the purpose of helping the hospital prevent a similar negative experience. Given the importance of health care services and the possibility for patient harm, providing feedback to a hospital about substandard care or other problems experienced as a patient is important for everyone. Staying calm when you write a letter of complaint is necessary, so that your letter will be taken seriously and you won't be perceived as someone who overreacts.
Find out the name of the patient complaint coordinator, or the person in charge of handling complaints for the hospital. Be sure to note the address and correct spelling of the specific person you are referred to as your appropriate contact. The person holding this position in a hospital usually understands hospital policies and is in a unique position to help resolve your complaints.
Gather all your facts detailing the names, dates and exact problem encountered. Accuracy is critical. Organise all of the information required to start writing the letter and the supporting documents to be copied and included.
Format the letter like a business letter. Align the letter flush left. Start with a heading that includes your name, address and phone number as the sender. Next, add the date you are writing the letter. Under the date include the address of the person to whom the letter is being sent. Next write an appropriate salutation like, Dear Mr. or Ms. Smith.
Write the first draft of the letter. Get to the point quickly, describing your complaint in the first paragraph. Be succinct and clear. List details. Stick to the facts and don't elaborate on details that will confuse or detract from the information that is key to the complaint. Describe what you hope to accomplish by writing the letter.
Proofread the letter. Don't rely on spell check to catch all of the mistakes, as words that are misused but spelt correctly may not show up on spell check. To check your tone and grammar, have a trusted friend with good language skills read the letter. Proofread the letter one last time after making corrections before mailing the final draft.
Send copies of relevant paperwork to back up your complaint. Don't send the originals since you may never see them again. Send copies to any other people that can help you resolve the complaint.
Send the letter certified mail so you have proof you sent the letter.
- Filinf Complaints on Physicians, Hospitals and Health Plans: Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases; Melissa Kaplan; December 2009
- Sphinx Legal: How to Write an Effective Complaint Letter; Janet Rubel
- Complaints Board: How to Write a Complaint Letter That Gets the Result You Want
- The Assertive Patient: Writing a Complaint Letter