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Making a complaint about dental services

Orthodontic National Group (ONG) joins forces with leaders from across the dental sector to launch universal principles of good complaint handling

ONG is one of 28 organisations from across the dental sector to launch a set of universal principles for good complaint handling. The six core principles provide a simple template for best practice, helping professionals and patients to get the most from feedback and complaints, for the benefit of all.

Sally Dye ONG Chair said “ONG are pleased to have been involved with the production of this document along with other professional bodies and stakeholders. We have been involved in lengthy discussions at many meetings to establish why patients feel dissatisfied enough to raise a complaint about any aspect of their treatment. There is now in place a clear pathway for patients and other individuals to follow, so that raising a concern or making a formal complaint is steered correctly, addressed and resolved in a timely fashion and at a more local level”.

According to the General Dental Council’s (GDC) 2017 Public and Patient Survey, 97% of dental patients report being either very (67%) or fairly (29%) satisfied with their dental treatment and only 8% report having considered making a complaint. However, of those who have, 33% said they had not done so because they didn’t know where to start.

GDC Executive Director, Strategy, Matthew Hill, said: “We all know that good complaint and feedback handling is an important part of being a dental professional which is why we are committed to developing a profession-wide understanding of what best practice looks like 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, which set out a clear picture of what patients can expect when providing feedback or making a complaint.

The six core principles 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.

Director of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England, Dr David Geddes, said: “Local resolution to complaints should always be encouraged and 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 in which they can provide feedback, with the option of making a formal complaint being more clearly explained.”

“We want to encourage every clinical dental provider to get involved with this initiative by integrating the principles into their practise, and also displaying the poster and leaflet to help patients to understand what they can expect from their dental team.”

More information and supporting resources, such as posters and leaflets that you can use in your practices and departments can be found here on our website www.orthodontic-ong.org and on the GDC website www.gdc-uk.org/patients/raising-a-concern The poster and leaflet are also available in hard copy on request.

Information about how the principles were developed

The principles of good complaint handling were developed by the Profession-wide Complaint Handling Initiative Working Group which included the following organisations: Association of Dental Administrators and Managers, Association of Dental Groups, British Association of Dental Nurses, British Association of Dental Therapists, British Dental Association, British Orthodontic Society, British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Bupa Dental Care, Care Quality Commission, CFC Underwriting, CODE, DDU, Dental Complaints Service, Dental Protection, Dental Technologists Association, Department of Health and Social Care, General Dental Council, Health Education England, LDC Confederation, MDDUS, mydentist, NHS Digital, NHS England, Orthodontic National Group, Orthodontic Technicians Association, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Simply health, Society of British Dental Nurses. This work was also informed by the views of dental patients.

Download Profession-wide complaint handling initiative leaflet HERE

Download Profession-wide complaint handling initiative poster HERE [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]