Code of Practice for Patient Complaints

At our practice we take complaints very seriously and try to ensure that all patients are pleased with their experience of our services. If a patient complains, 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 a way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make, and we respond to customers' concerns in a caring and sensitive way.

Complaints made to the practice

  1. The person responsible for dealing with any complaints about the service is Dr Carolyn Renton, Principal Dentist, or the Deputy Complaints Manager.
  2. If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer them to Principal Dentist. If the Principal Dentist is not available at the time, then the patient will be informed when the Principal Dentist will be available to talk and arrangements will be made for this to happen if required. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. 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.
  3. If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to Principal Dentist.
  4. If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist unless the patient does not want this to happen.
  5. We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint including a copy of this Code of Practice within three working days.
  6. We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of receipt to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.
  7. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.
  8. Proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received as well as any actions taken to improve services as a consequence of a complaint.
  9. Should a patient make a complaint or claim, we may need to provide information about the patient, and treatment they have received, to insurers, indemnifiers, or legal advisers.
  10. We keep strictly to the rules of clinical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we must know that you have their permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be needed unless they are incapable (because of physical and/or mental illness) of providing this.
  11. Ashfield Dental Clinic welcomes all complaints and any patient that makes a complaint will not be adversely treated due to having complained. If you do not wish to complain directly to the Practice, you can address your complaint directly to the relevant body.

We hope that if you have a problem, you will make use of our practice complaints procedure. We believe this will provide the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and provide an opportunity to improve our practice. However, this does not affect your right to complain to an independent body, if you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us or you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation.

For further advice, you should contact:

The Dental Complaints Service, The Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road, Croydon, Greater London, CR9 2ER. Telephone: 08456 120 540 www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP. Telephone: 0345 015 4033 www.ombudsman.org.uk

The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London. W1N 8DQ. Telephone: 0845 222 4141, the dentists’ regulatory body for complaints about professional misconduct