POLICY - HANDLING PATIENT COMPLAINTS

It is the aim of this practice to ‘Have a Clear and Effective Complaints Procedure’ by meeting the GDC ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ and deliver good practice in complaint handling. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. Every patient and complaint will be dealt with equally, without any form of discrimination.

Our aim is to react to complaints in the 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.

Feedback and complaints handling framework

This practice has developed a framework for managing complaints and feedback based on these principles:

1. All patients feedback is important to us
2. We want to make it easy for patients to raise a concern or complain, if you need to
3. We follow a complaints procedure and keep patients informed
4. We will try to answer all patient questions and any concerns raised
5. We want patients to have a positive experience of making a complaint
6. Patient feedback helps us to improve our service

Recognising complaints

Our team are aware that complaints are any expression of dissatisfaction by a patient (or their representative) about a dental service or treatment. Complaints can be verbal or written and can be about any part of the service we provide. All complaints must be logged internally, even if the complaint was verbal and resolved within 24 hours.

Recording complaints

All complaints are recorded on an Event Record and logged in our Event Register. Complaint records are always treated as confidential and kept separate from clinical records. Only authorised persons have access to the complaint’s records.

Handling complaints

The practice team is trained to resolve all complaints promptly, efficiently, and politely by following our Patient Complaints Procedure. The team responds to complaints in the time set out in the Patient Complaints Procedure and always provides constructive responses to complaints. The practice never discriminates against a patient who has made a complaint.

Team members cannot react defensively to a complaint but must listen carefully to a patient who makes one whilst involving them fully in the process of managing it. The team members will, to the best of their abilities, endeavour to meet any outcomes the patient expects and offer sincere apologies when appropriate.

If a patient is not satisfied despite our best efforts to resolve the complaint, they will be informed about other avenues available to them such as the Dental Complaints Service

1. If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him or her to the Practice Manager immediately.

2. If the Practice Manager is not available at the time, 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 the Dr Clare, to contact them by telephone as soon as possible.

3. If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Practice Manager.

4. If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the Orthodontist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.

5. 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 seek to investigate the complaint and give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within the timeframe originally given, we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.

6. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.

7. Proper and comprehensive records are kept of all complaints received.

8. If patients are not satisfied with the result of our procedure, then a complaint may be made to:

  • The Dental Complaints Service 37 Wimpole St, London W1G 8GT (020 8253 0800) - for complaints about private treatment.
  • NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch. B97 9PT. By email [email protected] or by telephone (0300 311 22 33) - for complaints about NHS treatment.

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