Mapplewell Dental Centre policy for handling patient complaints
In this practice we take complaints very seriously indeed and try to ensure that all patients are pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This procedure is based on these objectives.
Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to patients’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way. All complaints will be documented and used to improve the service we provide.
1. The person responsible for dealing with any formal complaint about the service we provide is: Mr Mark Bishop
2. If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, listen to the complaint sympathetically. A complaint generally starts as a verbal complaint so follow the following guidelines:
- Listen without interrupting
- Do not get defensive
- See it from the patients point of view
- Be sympathetic
- Ask open questions to ensure you have understood the problem, (open questions start with who, what, where, when, why and how)
- Apologise as appropriate. An example would be ‘I am sorry you are upset with the treatment’ or ‘that the incident occurred’.
- Clarify what the patient expects/wants to happen
- Explain what is/is not possible
- Explore alternatives
- Take immediate action
- Ensure that the problem is communicated the practice manage who will then discuss it with all relevant members of the team
- Follow up
- Ensure the patient is satisfied with the outcome
3. If your initial attempt at solving the problem is unsuccessful, please tell the patient that you will pass on written details of the problem to the practice manager (Mrs Wormald). Ask the patient when it would be convenient for Mrs Wormald to call them to try and resolve their problem. Mrs Wormald will discuss any complaints she feels necessary with Mr Bishop if she feels it is appropriate.
4. If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to, Mr Mark Bishop
5. If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges, Mrs Wormald will discuss this with the treating dentist, unless the patient has specifically asked for this not to happen. If the problem is a clinical one the dentist should consider seeking advice from their Defence Organisation before dealing with it promptly and personally. More serious matters should always be referred for professional advice.
6. In all written complaints, we will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within two working days. We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of the complaint being received to give an explanation of the circumstances leading to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to him or her on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.
7. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing to the patient immediately after completing our investigation.
8. Proper and comprehensive reports are kept of any complaint received.
Further referrals can be made to:
For Denplan Patients: Denplan’s Complaints Handling and Risk Management Department
Telephone: 0800 169 7220
For fee paying Patients: Dental Complaints Service
Telephone: 08456 120 540