Smiles Complaints handling policy
At Smiles Dental Care we take complaints very seriously. We want all our patients to be delighted with our quality of care. Any complaints will be dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter may be resolved as quickly as possible. Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our own complaint about a service to be handled, to learn from any mistakes we make and to respond to patients' concerns in a caring and sensitive way. This policy sets out the procedures we will follow to ensure that we achieve these objectives.
Encouraging feedback and complaints
We encourage our patients to leave feedback, verbally or by making use of our Suggestion Box and, where they are unhappy, to make a complaint if they feel that we have failed to meet their expectations. We wish to stress that patient satisfaction and well-being is all-important to us and any feedback that may help us to improve our services is gratefully received.
Patients are safe in the knowledge that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint, which will in no way impair the quality of their treatment.
Where it is requested, advice and advocacy support will be provided to those who require it. Even if it is not requested, we may offer to arrange such assistance where it appears to us that this may be appropriate in the circumstances.
The person with overall responsibility for dealing with complaints is the Practice Manager, Margaret Pollock. However, any patient wishing to make a complaint should not hesitate to raise the matter with any member of the practice team, as they prefer.
Verbal complaints (by telephone or face-to-face)
Should a patient make a verbal complaint, the member of staff receiving it will, if they are able, immediately attempt to remedy the problem. Should this not be possible, in the event, for example, that the patient is asking for something that the staff member is not authorised to provide (for example, a refund of treatment fees), the staff member will contact the Practice Manager immediately so that she may deal with the matter. Should the Practice Manager not be immediately available, the patient will be given times when she will be and/or arrangements will be made for her to contact them at a mutually convenient time. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on to the Practice Manager. Should the patient be dissatisfied with this, or unable to wait, arrangements will be made for the Principle to deal with the matter in the Practice Manager's absence.
Written complaints (letter or email)
Written complaints, whether in letter or email form, will immediately be passed on to the Practice Manager for her to deal with.
Complaints relating to clinical care or associated charges will usually be referred to the dentist unless the patient would prefer it not to be.
Complaints will be acknowledge, in writing, within 3 practice working days. We will provide a full response (with redress or details of action to be taken, where appropriate) within 10 practice working days. If this is not possible for any reason, we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and the likely period within which the investigation should be completed.
A full response may initially be given at a meeting with the patient or by telephone, depending on the patient's preference, and confirmed in writing.
We will keep proper and comprehensive records of any complaints we receive, responses we give and any action taken.
Where a patient is not satisfied with the outcome
Where a patient is not satisfied with the response to a complaint, they may refer the matter to:
The Dental Complaints Service, The Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road, Croydon, Greater London, CR9 2ER, telephone begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 08456 120540 FREE - for complaints about private treatment
The Care Quality Commission, Finsbury Tower, 103-105 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TG, Freephone: 03000 616161 - the general health regulator, with responsibility for maintaining standards in healthcare services
The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ, Freephone: 0845 222 4141 - the dentists' regulatory body, which deals with complaints about professional misconduct.