We welcome constructive feedback and if there is any aspect of the Practice and the service we provide that you would like to comment on then please let us know either via the suggestions box in the waiting room, directly to a member of staff, via email or letter. If you feel we are doing something very well we like to hear that too!
The practice operates a complaints procedure as part of its dealing with patients’ complaints, this complies with the General Dental Council Standard number 5 and the Care Quality Commission requirements.
We take complaints very seriously and try to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This procedure is based on these objectives.
Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We try to learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to patients’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
- Our Practice Manager is responsible for managing any complaint about the service that we provide.
- Our complaints procedure is designed to make sure that we settle any complaints as quickly as possible. We shall endeavour to acknowledge telephone complaints within 24 hours and written complaints within 2 working days and aim to have looked into the complaint within 1 month of the date when it was raised. We should then be in a position to offer an explanation or a meeting as appropriate. If there are any delays in the process we will keep the complainant informed. Delays may occur due to staff holidays and the time it can take to consult with Dental Protection our professional advisors.
- If a patient complains by telephone or in person, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer them to Heather immediately. If she is not available at the time, we will advise the patient when they will be able to talk to her and make arrangements for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint to pass to the Complaints Manager and provide the patient with a copy. If we cannot arrange this within a reasonable period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for someone else to deal with it.
- If a patient complains in writing or by e-mail, it will be passed immediately to the Practice Manager.
- If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges, it will usually be referred to the clinician concerned, unless the patient does not want this to happen.
- We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within three working days. We will offer to discuss the complaint at a time agreed with the patient, and confirm how the patient would like to be kept informed of developments – by telephone, letters or e-mail or by face-to-face meetings. We will inform the patient about how the complaint will be handled and the likely time that the investigation will take to complete. If the patient does not wish to discuss the complaint further, we will still inform them of the expected timescale for completing the investigation.
When we look into a complaint, we shall aim to:
- Find out what happened and what, if anything, went wrong. We will seek to investigate thoroughly and, as far as reasonably practicable, we will keep the patient informed of our progress.
- Make it possible, if appropriate for the complainant to discuss the problem with those concerned.
- Identify what we can do to make sure the problem does not happen again.
- When we have completed our investigation and if appropriate, we will provide the patient with a full written report, which will include an explanation of how we considered the complaint, the conclusions reached in respect of each specific part of the complaint, details of any necessary remedial action taken and whether further action will be taken.
Proper and comprehensive records will be kept of any complaints received and the action we take. These records will be reviewed regularly to ensure that we take every opportunity to improve our service.
At the end of the investigation the complaint will be discussed with the complainant in detail, either in person or in writing.
If the complaint is not resolved to the patient’s satisfaction, the patient will be advised to write to:
Dental Complaints Service - for mediation in private practice dental issues. www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk
Care Quality Commission
These addresses are in the Practice Information Leaflet in the waiting room and in reception.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
The rules of medical confidentiality will be adhered to if the complaint is received on behalf of someone else. A consent letter signed by the person concerned will be required, unless they are incapable (e.g. because of illness or lack of capacity) of providing this to allow the complaint to be investigated.
A log is kept of dental complaints. Forms to be completed in the event of a complaint are held in the brown folder in reception.