THE number of complaints about private care handled by the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) dropped by more than 40 per cent last year, new figures show.
The DCS processed 1,068 complaints in 2014 compared to 1,876 the previous year – a drop of 43 per cent.
The large decrease is being attributed to the introduction of a new complaints management system last May which has improved the way complaints are classified and helped identify those which fall outside the organisation’s remit.
In addition to complaints, the DCS dealt with 1,012 enquiries between May and December 2014, with an annual total of 7,718 telephone calls.
The most common treatment complaints related to dentures (18 per cent), followed by crowns (17 per cent) and fillings (11 per cent).
The proportion of complaints about dentists dropped slightly from 96 per cent in 2013 to 93 per cent in 2014. There was a small rise in complaints about clinical dental technicians over the same period, from 1.5 per cent to three per cent, and for dental technicians, from one per cent to two per cent. Complaints about dental nurses rose from 0.15 per cent to 0.5 per cent.
The largest number of complaints was made in the south east of England, accounting for 24 per cent of the total. London came second with 19 per cent of complaints, followed by the south west of England on 11 per cent and the north west on nine per cent. Nine per cent of complaints were made about care in Scotland while three per cent related to Wales and 0.5 per cent in Northern Ireland.
Head of Service at the DCS Hazel Adams said: “We’re now in our ninth year and we’re continuing to adapt and improve the service that we deliver. The DCS uses a three-step service to assist patients and dental professionals to come to a mutually agreed solution and our team of specialist volunteer panel members and trained staff ensure that we offer a high quality service that helps facilitate mutually acceptable solutions for both parties.”
Find out more about the DCS at www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk