This page is where we publish any negative reviews clients have given to Active X Backs, whether given to us directly, or found on the world wide web. Fortunately at time of writing (January 2019), I couldn´t find any on the web. I did what you probably did – simply searched “negative reviews complaints Active X Backs”. Why would I collate complaints for you to read in one place? Because I want to demonstrate to you that as the Clinic Director (Chief Back Öfficer) I take complaints seriously, and to show you how we respond to any complaints and negative reviews – by learning and getting better at delivering our service. We have a complaints procedure which is linked to on our New Client Information page.
So, although there are no negative reviews online, have we received complaints? Yes. Active X Backs has been trading for 26 years, and in that time we have received complaints and they have always been valid.
In 2001 we employed an osteopath who turned out to be a disaster. He was only with us for 4 days, but when it was flagged up to me on day 3 that his note-keeping was poor and sometimes he only spent 10 minutes with patients before showing them back out to reception, I investigated immediately. His note-keeping was indeed entirely inadequate. I called every patient he had seen – 50% of them were dissatisfied. I apologised and refunded their fees and offered to see them myself. His employment contract was immediately cancelled and he never saw another client of ours. I flagged up his terrible performance to the regulator. We immediately reviewed our recruitment process and our induction process, and to this day I audit the experience clients have with us, and intensely so when they are seeing a new member of our clinical team.
We had another osteopath around the same time who was a likable young man but he made a crucial error in under-estimating the frailty of a 60-something year old lady who consulted him about mid back pain. His treatment – she told me later – immediately caused her severe pain and this had continued for several days afterwards. I saw her myself and it was apparent that her pain was likely due to an osteoporotic fracture in her thoracic spine. She had always been very slim, had had an early menopause and been a heavy smoker all her life – all of these risk factors for osteoporosis. Although proving cause and effect is difficult, it is likely that the techniques this osteopath applied were too forceful, leading to a fracture of – as was confirmed later on XRay – her T7 and T8 vertebrae. What a nightmare for the poor woman, potentially a disaster for us as a business, and for him as an osteopath. The lady herself was very generous in her desire to put the episode behind her and focus on recovery. The osteopath moved to Australia within 4 weeks, simultaneously resigning his registration with the UK regulator. What did we learn from the experience? We didn´t learn a great deal, but it did reinforce my view that despite an expectation that professionals we employ will not make mistakes, it is possible that they will, and that if and whey they do, our focus must continue to be on supporting the patient first.
Complaints related to money, price and value have happened, and I think they have probably always been due to us failing to communicate adequately on the topic. Our fees are on our online booking facility, but it appears that quite often people come for a first appointment without asking (or even thinking about) what our fees are. So now, whenever a first appointment is made by phone we tell the client what the fees are and what to expect on that first occasion. In an attempt to provide further clarity, I recently wrote an article entitled “How long should an appointment be with an osteopath, and how much should it cost?” To be fair, we´ve had a few chancers over the years who come for an appointment then act surprised afterwards when we ask them to pay!
I know it´s almost inevitable that we will receive a complaint or negative review in the future, and when we do, I´ll publish it here (it may need to be anonymised if the person doesn´t give us permission to include their name). I´ll also publish how we responded and what we´ve learnt from it. Only through experiences and facing up to any negative ones can we continually improve.