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Complaint-management in psychiatry – a nationwide survey in Germany


To describe and characterize the work of independent complaint offices for users of psychiatric services and of ombudsmen in psychiatric hospitals.


Nationwide survey addressed to all independent complaint offices and to all psychiatric hospitals in Germany.


The authors were able to identify N = 39 independent complaint offices. About 50% of the hospitals surveyed (N = 423) reported having a patient's advocate ("Patientenfürsprecher"). Both types of intercession agency rely mainly on volunteer service. While complaint offices are regularly staffed by psychiatry-experienced, their relatives and professionals, patient's advocates are often retired employees of the respective hospitals. Both types of such agencies deal with a variety of complaints.


Implications of the results will be discussed with regard to differences and similarities of the different institutions.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hamann, J., Lienert, A., Mendel, R. et al. Complaint-management in psychiatry – a nationwide survey in Germany. BMC Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S131 (2007).

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  • Public Health
  • Psychiatric Hospital
  • Psychiatric Service
  • Nationwide Survey
  • Volunteer Service