The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) are a team of 7 based in London who help impartially assist in the speedy resolution of private dental complaints. The DCS provide free, impartial and expert advice that can help to quickly resolve complaints about private dental treatment or service received in the UK providing they are raised within 12 months of receiving the treatment or becoming aware of the concern. The service is funded by the General Dental Council via the dental professionals’ annual retention fee. The DCS are not there to take sides but to look at the complaint and see how they can work with both the patient and dental professional in order to reach an agreed resolution.
A patient can also raise a matter with the GDC and the DCS in parallel. By allowing cases to run concurrently, the dental professional is given the opportunity to address any concerns the patient may have in a timely and appropriate way.
- What can the DCS help with?
- An explanation and/or apology.
- A full or partial refund of fees in relation to failure of treatment.
- Free remedial treatment from the dentist who provided the initial treatment.
- A contribution towards remedial treatment so that the work can be completed by another dental professional.
DCS Review phase 1 and 2
During 2017, the DCS went through phase 1 of its review to improve their operational effectiveness. Following feedback from the review, the referral to FtP criteria were updated. The revised criteria have resulted in a decrease in number of complaints referred by the DCS to FtP from 30% in 2017 to 2.5% in 2018. In addition, the DCS have continued to improve across all areas, responding to 96% of enquiries within two working days and an average of just 40 days to resolve a complaint. Between 94% and 100% of the people who use the service were either satisfied or completely satisfied with the assistance provided by DCS.
Today, the DCS ensure that only proportionate and highly risk cases are referred to FtP. The DCS received approximately 2,200 new enquires during 2018. Of those complaints that fell within the DCS remit, 77% were resolved at local resolution, 22% at facilitated resolution and just 1% at the panel meeting stage. Further information on complaints handling and our process can be found on their website.
Since the uptake for dental professionals giving feedback during phase one of the DCS review was low, the DCS is now working with the British Dental Association to create another survey to reach out to those who have used the service before. In this survey, dental professionals will be asked for their views on how we services can be improved further to aid in the facilitation of complaints resolution. This feedback will feed into phase 2 of the DCS review.