complaintsOrganisations from across dentistry have joined forces to create a set of universal principles for good complaint handling.

The organisations, including the GDC, have created six core principles to provide a template for best practice.

The core principles to communicate to patients are:

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

‘We all know that good complaint and feedback handling is an important part of being a dental professional,’ GDC executive director, strategy, Matthew Hill, said.

‘This is why we committed to developing a profession-wide understanding of what best practice is in Shifting the balance.

‘There was really strong support from across the sector for this.

‘So a working group was formed, which went on to develop the six core principles.

‘These set out a very clear picture of what patients can expect when providing feedback or making a complaint.’

Patients happy with treatment

A third of patients looking to complain hadn’t done so because they didn’t know where to start, the GDC says.

It’s survey, Public and Patient Survey, found that 97% of dental patients are very/fairly satisfied with their treatment.

Only 8% of patients have considered making a complaint, however many weren’t sure where to turn.

‘Local resolution to complaints should always be encouraged,’ director of primary care commissioning at NHS England, Dr David Geddes, said.

‘This work will hopefully help dental practices be more confident in their complaint handling.

‘It will also encourage patients and their carers to consider the different ways they can provide feedback.

‘With the option of making a formal complaint being more clearly explained.’

The working group’s aim is for the principles to be clearly displayed and accessible in every clinical setting providing dental care by May 2019.


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