Denial.

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red flag professional behaviour denil defination

Scroll down or click on link to content. 1️⃣ Definition 2️⃣ Why Organisations use Denial? 2️⃣.1️⃣ Denial Info-graph 3️⃣ How to recognise Denial? 4️⃣ How to deal with denial? 5️⃣ NHS Legislation designed to prevent denial.

1️⃣ Definition

When professionals or organisations dismiss your facts and or concerns because they fear to admit the truth will damage their professional or organisational reputation. That is denial.

Even when you present them with evidence to support your case, they will still refuse to admit:

▶️ conversations they had with you,

▶️ promises they made to reign in their behaviour and/or someone else’s behaviour.

▶️ you were given poor treatment leading to avoidable harm or

▶️ referrals they promised to make did not happen. Leaving you without treatment.

This behaviour/s is called denial.

2️⃣ Why Organisations use Denial?

It is often easier for the organisation/professional to respond to the internal conflict created when they are shown proof that the organisation and their colleagues are not the superhero they thought they were.

2️⃣.1️⃣ It’s not me, it’s you.

It is easier and more comfortable if they zone out from this internal conflict by simply ignoring anything you have to say.  Than allow themselves to doubt the integrity of their professional and/or organisation. To counter balance any unease, they deflect their doubt onto you and questioning your:

▶️ understanding of the events.

▶️ Or the soundness of your evidence.

▶️ Or your sanity. 

2️⃣.2️⃣ Denial Info-graph

denial/dismissing of your facts and/or concerns
Click on image to make larger.

2️⃣.3️⃣ Heads they win, tails you lose

This is often achieved by the simple method of casting doubts over the integrity of you or your information. If in the process they can successfully goad you into doubting your sanity, recall of events etc, by resorting to denial and withdrawing the complaint. Then it’s a kerching moment for them and the usefulness of denial in dealing with complaints is reinforced.

red flag professional behaviour of denial, by nhs complaints handlers dismissing your facts and/concerns

Unfortunately for you, the conscious or unconscious use of denial behaviour is a gaslighting technique. Gaslighting activates your fight-or-flight chemicals. Pretty much all dealings with them will be in attack or retreat mode rather than relax and relate. Due to the fight or flight chemicals swirling through your bloodstream. And the miscommunication cycle continues.

Which is an added bonus as any ‘bad’ behaviour from you can be used to their advantage so they can justify their behaviour towards you. Heads they win, tails you lose?

3️⃣ How to recognise denial?

Denial, when coupled with the authority of the ‘caring position‘, can be difficult to spot. 

3️⃣.1️⃣ Using these phrases should start alarm bells ringing.

▶️ “I didn’t say that, I said ___* _

▶️ “If you remember correctly, I was actually trying to help you.”

It is cruel way to treat someone, but it serves its purpose. As it is great for distracting from addressing the actual issue. Which is you and your health concerns are not being taken seriously.

Some people will walk away or flee. Others will choose to ‘fight’ to be heard. 

Either action will result in the withholding of the much needed solution’ and/or an extended wait for a resolution’.

4️⃣ How to deal with denial?

▶️ As calmly as possible, make them aware that you have identified their behaviour as denial and ask them what steps they are going to take to counteract their misinformation.

▶️ I may be preaching to the converted but … only communicate in writing so you will have a record of the content and date/s of all communications.

▶️ If this is not practical, you do not require permission to record your side of the conversation. I would recommend you record your responses.

▶️ However if you do not have the technology to do this, it’s in your best interests to take your own meeting minutes template and email or post the meeting minutes to the case handler, chair of the meeting etc as soon as practical after the end of the meeting/conversation.

▶️ That is why it is so important, to check the accuracy of your healthcare records. Via a Subject Access Request. Then, if necessary, Amend your Medical Records. As the more factual the information. The more likely they are to take your concerns seriously.

5️⃣ Click here to read the Legislation designed to prevent this behaviour.