Clifton Dental Care Limited

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 reach a satisfactory conclusion. We will, at all times, be polite and respectful to our patients.

Practice procedure

  1. The Practice Complaints Manager Jane Pryde is responsible for dealing with all complaints about our service.
  2. If a patient makes a complaint in person 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 Complaints Manager. If the Complaints Manager is available, the patient is asked whether they would like to see her immediately. Otherwise the patient is advised when the Complaints 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 Complaints Manager.
  4. Complaints about clinical care or the amount charged for treatment will be referred to the dentist concerned, unless the patient requests otherwise.
  5. All complaints are acknowledged in writing as soon as possible but within 2 working days. A copy of this code of practice will be sent with the acknowledgement. If the patient has not yet discussed the matter with the Complaints 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, and 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 four weeks.
  7. On completion of our investigation, we will provide the patient with a full written report, which will include
    • an explanation of how the compliant 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 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:
    • Concerns Team, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Floor 7, Brecknock House, University Hospital Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 7XB 02920 744095
    • If you would like support or advice regarding your NHS complaint you can contact the local Community Health Council by calling 02920 235558.
    • If you are still unhappy you can contact Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, 1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed CF35 5LJ telephone: 0845 601 0987 or for complaints about NHS treatment.
    • The British Dental Health Foundation helpline 0845 063 1188
    • The Dental Complaints Service, Stephenson House, 2 Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon, Greater London CR0 6BA, 020 8253 0800 or for complaints about private treatment.
    • The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), Welsh Government, Rhydycar Business Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 1UZ (Telephone:0300 062 8163) who is the independent inspectorate and regulator of all healthcare in Wales.
    • The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ ( The Dentists’ registration body)
    • If you feel the practice isn’t meeting its duties regarding the Welsh Language you can raise your concerns with the Welsh Language Commissioner by calling 0845 6033221.

Failure to attend policy (FTR’s)

FTRs are monitored on a monthly basis so the practice is aware of the extent of the problem.

Any patient who has failed to attend two appointments will no longer be treated at the practice subject to the discretion of the treating dentist and management team. Patients will be notified of missed appintments and the consequences by letter. If any patients wish to discuss this policy then they should address their concerns in writing to the practice manager or leave their details with reception so their call can be returned.

New patients who have failed to attend one appointment will no longer be treated at the practice.

NHS FTRs do not carry a fixed charge however for all private appoitnments a charge will be lieved dependant upon the length of the appointment and the resulting treatment. Again this charge will be subject to the discretion of the practice.

Harassment by Patients Policy

Your commitment to us

Please treat our staff with the respect you expect from us. Harassment of our dental team will not be tolerated.

Action may be taken by the practice owner against patients who harass the dental team. You may be de-registered from the practice.

Harassment includes but is not limited to violence, abuse or offensive language.

Our commitment to you

Our aim is for patients to be pleased with their experience of our service.

We take complaints very seriously in this practice.

Please refer to our complaints procedure if you wish to make a complaint.

Practice Payment Policy

It is our practice policy to give patients full information about the cost of their dental work before any treatment is undertaken. A list and explanation of NHS charges is displayed in reception as well as the patient notice boards. Private fees are available upon request.

A written estimate and treatment plan for both private and NHS work will be provided at the initial consultation.

We offer patients a range of payment options, depending on their needs. You may pay for your dental care by cheque, cash, or credit/debit card. Private patients may also join the private dental care scheme DENPLAN. Interest Free Credit facilities are also available subject to status. Please ask our receptionists for further information.

We try to make payment as straightforward as possible. Our normal policy is that patients are asked to pay a proportion each visit OR Patients are asked to pay a deposit prior to the commencement of treatment and the balance on completion subject to the discretion of the reception staff.

In all circumstances patients are asked to pay the balance of their treatment on the day of completion AND before attending their last appointment.

Practice Quality Assurance Policy

Our practice aims to provide dental care of a consistent quality, for all patients. We have management systems to help us and which define each practice member’s responsibilities when looking after you.

In proposing treatment we will take account of your own wishes. We will explain options, where appropriate, and costs, so that you can make an informed choice. We will always explain what we are doing.

We will do all we can to look after your general health. We will ask you about your general health, and about any medicines being taken. This helps us to treat you safely. We keep all information about you confidential.

Contamination control is also essential to the safety of our patients. Every practice member receives training in practice systems for contamination control.

We screen all patients for mouth cancer at routine checkups. We ask patients about tobacco and alcohol use because they increase your oral cancer risk.

Practice working methods are reviewed regularly at meetings of all staff. We encourage all staff to make suggestions for improving the care we give patients.

We regularly ask patients for their views on our services. We have systems for dealing promptly with patient complaints and for ensuring that lessons are learnt from any mistakes that we make.

All dentists in the practice take part in continuing professional education, meeting the General Dental Council’s requirements. We aim to keep up-to-date with current thinking on all aspects of general dentistry, including preventive care which reduces your need for treatment.

All staff joining the practice are given training in practice-wide procedures. Once a year, there is an individual review of training needs for everyone in the practice.

All members of the practice know of the need to ensure that dentists are working safely. In the unlikely event that a dentist in this practice becomes unfit to practise, we have systems to ensure that concerns are investigated and, if necessary, acted upon.