Code of practice for patient complaints
We want all our patients to be pleased with the service they receive, so we take complaints seriously. If a patient makes a complaint, we will deal with it promptly and courteously. Our aim is to resolve the matter as quickly as possible following the agreed procedure and, wherever possible, to the satisfaction of the patient.
A complaint may indicate a failing on our part, which we can learn from and make improvements to our service. We will adopt a ‘no blame’ approach when investigating a complaint and especially where individuals are identified, with the aim of reaching a satisfactory conclusion. We will, at all times, be polite and respectful to our patients.
Where necessary, patients can be helped to submit a complaint to the practice
Complainants may wish to seek advice from organisations such as the Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICAS) or the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
1. Our Practice Manager is responsible for dealing with all complaints about our service.
2. If a patient makes a complaint in person (this can be dealt with in a private area) or by telephone, the member of staff receiving the complaint makes an initial record of their concerns and checks this for accuracy with the patient. The patient is given a copy of the record and the original is passed to the Practice Manager. If the Practice Manager is available, the patient is asked whether they would like to see her immediately. Otherwise the patient is advised when the Practice Manager will make contact to arrange a meeting in person or by telephone.
3. If the patient complains in writing or by e-mail, the complaint will be passed immediately to the Practice Manager.
4. Complaints about clinical care or the amount charged for treatment will be referred to the orthodontist concerned, unless the patient requests otherwise.
5. All complaints are acknowledged in writing as soon as possible but within 3 working days. A copy of this code of practice will be sent with the acknowledgement (along with a copy of the Financial Ombudsman information, if this applicable). If the patient has not yet discussed the matter with the Practice Manager, they will be offered the opportunity to do so and also be asked how they would like to be kept informed of developments – by letter, e-mail, telephone or face-to-face meetings. The patient will also be advised of the process we will follow in resolving the complaint and the anticipated timescale.
6. We will investigate the complaint speedily and efficiently and, as far a reasonably practicable, will keep the patient informed of our progress. Investigations will normally be completed within 10 working days. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving them reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed
7. On completion of our investigation, we will provide the patient with a full written (signed) report, which will include:
- an explanation of how the complaint has been considered
- the conclusions reached in respect of each specific part of the complaint
- details of any necessary remedial action and
- whether the practice is satisfied with any action it has already taken or will be taking as a result of the complaint.
8. Proper and comprehensive records will be kept of any complaint received as well as any actions taken to improve services as a consequence of a complaint.
9. If a patient is not satisfied with the result, then the complaint may be referred to:
For NHS patient complaints:
NHS Commissioning Board
PO Box 16738
Redditch B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 22 33
If a patient decides that their complaint has not been handled satisfactorily by the LAT, then they can complain directly to the:
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
London SW1P 4QP
Tel: 0345 015 4033
For Private patient complaints:
The Dental Complaints Service
The Lansdowne Building
2 Lansdowne Road
Greater London CR9 2ER
Tel: 08456 120 540
For financial based complaints:
Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
82 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SR
Tel: 0845 080 1800
Fax: 0207 964 1001
The Financial Ombudsman should be contacted within six months of the date of the final letter sent from the practice regarding the complaint.
Where appropriate, the orthodontist’s registration body:
The General Dental Council
37 Wimpole Street
Tel: 08456 120540
10. If a patient has concerns about the service that we provide, they can contact the following organisation directly:
Care Quality Commission
103-105 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8TG
Tel: 03000 616161
11. Independent and impartial advice on complaints procedures can be obtained from:
British Dental Health Foundation
Tel: 0870 333 1188 – Word of Mouth Advice Line
Email via website-www.dentalhealth.org.uk/helpline
Prepared by: Alison Rosen
Last reviewed: December 2016
To be reviewed: March 2018