If you haven't looked at your complaints procedure recently, now's a good time to check it's up to date.

Our experience in helping members has shown time and again that if the proper procedures are in place to do so, most complaints can be effectively dealt with in practice.

The complaints procedure should outline the following:

  1. the name of the complaints manager
  2. details of how to contact the practice if there is a complaint
  3. how the practice will handle verbal complaints
  4. how the practice will handle written complaints
  5. details of how the complaint can be escalated if the complainant is still unsatisfied.

In relation to this last point, this should be the relevant ombudsman for NHS complaints. For private patients, this should be the Dental Complaints Service (DCS).

What not to include

Remember, despite the requirement to tell complainants how they can escalate their complaint, the complaints procedure does NOT need to mention the GDC. If your complaints procedure tells patients they can complain to the GDC, update it so this reference is removed.

Because there is no obligation to tell patients they can complain to the GDC, removing this reference might help prevent a complaint unnecessarily escalating to the GDC. This could in turn lead to the complaint being resolved more swiftly and easily, leading to satisfied patients and giving you more time to spend on providing treatment.

Further reading

Complaints, and complaints procedures, are common factors in calls for help from members. See below for some other helpful resources and articles on the subject:

Piecing together a complaints procedure

Having a proper complaints procedure can help you solve patient issues and restore calm.

Coping with a complaint

One DDU member talks us through the shock and stress of receiving their first complaint, as well as how we were able to support them through it.

Dealing with dental complaints

Complaints are common, and it's vital to know how to manage them professionally and appropriately. Read our concise but comprehensive guide.

This page was correct at publication on 21/05/2021. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.