The Immediate and Long-Term Impact on New Zealand Doctors Who Receive Patient Complaints

Published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the following study aimed to analyze the impact of receiving a medical complaint on doctors in New Zealand. 221 doctors completed a questionnaire and indicated that in the immediate period after receiving a complaint, they experienced emotions of anger, depression, shame, guilt, and reduced enjoyment of medical practice. In the long-term, the imapact of a complaint softened–but feelings of persisting anger, reduction of trust in patients, and of reduced feelings of goodwill toward patients was reported. This study indicates that receiving a medical complaint has a significant negative impact on the doctor and on important components of the doctor-patient relationship.