The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) received 2,159 enquiries from dental patients in 2018, a jump from 1,845 in the previous year.

Despite this rise, the number of fitness to practise referrals from these calls plummeted by 83% to 57 cases.

The rest of the enquiries were either outside the DCS remit (46%), passed onto NHS England (26%), Scotland (1%) and Wales (2%) or dealt with by the DCS (23%).

‘I am very proud to say that since the DCS was launched in 2006, more than 5,000 complaints have been resolved and we have assisted with over 19,000 enquiries,’ head of DCS operations, Michelle Williams, said.

‘This review illustrates the significant progress we have made to improve the fair and impartial service we provide to patients.

‘Patients rely on the DCS for assistance in resolving their private dental care complaints.’

Success

The DCS claims to be a free and impartial private dental care complaints resolution service.

It is funded by the dental regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC).

‘The best measure of our success is a reduction in demand for the service we offer,’ Ms Williams continues.

‘I’m happy to report we now handle around 600 complaints a year, compared to just under 900 in 2009.

‘It’s also important to note that more complaints are now being resolved at an earlier stage.

‘This is reflected in the fact that we now have only 42 panel members, compared to 200 at our inception.

‘These are positive signs of progress and reinforce the message that complaints can, and are, being resolved locally.’

Common reasons for complaints

Braces (18.1%) were the most common cause for complaint to the DCS in 2018.

The percentage of complaints the DCS received were:

  • Braces (18.1%)
  • Crowns (13.5%)
  • Partial denture (10.1%)
  • Full denture (9.9%)
  • Implants (9.5%)
  • Bridges (7.2%)
  • Root canal treatment (6.4%)
  • Amalgam filling (6%)
  • Composite filling (4.8%)
  • Veneers (4.8%)
  • Inlay (0.2%)
  • Other (9.5%).

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