Table 2

Hypothesised programme theories for patient-centric complaint handling and system-wide quality improvement* (stage 2)

Procedural pathwayProgramme theory titleDescription
Complaint handlingInviteHealthcare settings support and encourage patients and families to submit a complaint following negative experiences, incidents or negligence.
RespondComplainants receive a patient-centric response that provides an explanation of poor care, admission of responsibility and learning or action taken from their complaint.
Quality monitoring and improvementReportImportant information from complaints is recorded in a reliable and standardised manner to allow for aggregated analysis.
AnalyseAggregated analysis of complaints supports the identification of systemic and severe complaints and leads to actionable insights for improvement.
ImproveInsights derived from complaints analysis are used to inform quality improvement priorities and interventions.
  • *Hypothesised programme theories were conceptualised by the authors based on literature screening, lay partner involvement and 13 expert interviews.