Complaints

It is essential that practices have a clear and transparent process for dealing with complaints.

To deal with complaints effectively, it is essential practices have in place a clear and transparent process – including the names of responsible persons, and timescales and documentation standards with which they comply. Our advisory teams are always happy to assist practices in responding to complaints as this can often prevent cases from escalating.

The risk team have identified the following key tools from our resources to help you review your own complaints handling processes:  

  • Practice workshop: Complaints in dental practice. This workshop tool allows GDPs and PMs to explore key issues around complaints handling with their practice team. It includes a range of scenarios accompanied by notes, answers and rationales.
  • Online course: Dental complaints handling. This course is aimed at dentists and dental practice managers and looks at key areas including common reasons for patient complaints; requirements in relation to complaints handling; and how to review your own practice process, roles and responsibilities in relation to complaints. It includes a link to our complaints handling checklist. The course takes around 45 minutes to complete and includes a short assessment at the end. Upon completion of the assessment, you can print or save a certificate for your CPD portfolio.
  • Article: From negative to positive. What should practices do if they are subject to potentially damaging online comments? Risk adviser Alan Frame offers some advice in this article from MDDUS SoundBite magazine.
  • Video: An introduction to practice risks in dentistry. This training video examines common risk areas including confidentiality, dealing with complaints, dental surgery practice, record keeping and public interest disclosure of patient information.
  • Article: Complaints welcome. Instead of fearing it, negative feedback should be welcomed, argues dentist-turned-business coach Alun Rees.
  • Article: Are you a chatty dentist? Speaking with colleagues during treatment can be an unexpected source of patient complaints.
  • Article: Risks in the routine. MDDUS dental adviser Doug Hamilton takes a journey through a routine dental visit to highlight some of the risks dentists face along the way.
  • Video: Pitfalls in practice. In this 20 minute episode of Risk Factor we examine some of more the common areas where dentists can find themselves as the subject of complaints, GDC scrutiny and negligence claims.
  • Video presentation: Managing face-to-face complaints. How a team member responds to a face-to-face complaint can determine how effectively the rest of the process is managed. Watch this tutorial, presented by risk adviser Alan Frame, to explore some of the do’s and don’ts in first responses.
  • Checklist: Complaints handling. Work through this checklist as a team to review your current complaints handling system, or use it as a good practice checklist when setting up a new process within your practice.
  • Team exercise: Complaints investigation quiz. Use this interactive tool to check knowledge and improve the approach you take to investigating complaints – a key aspect of successful management.
  • Team exercise: Complaints - responding in writing. Use this tool to check how comprehensive your complaint responses are. Providing a full and accurate response can resolve a complaint quickly and reassure the patient that you have taken their concerns seriously.
  • Article: Hidden costs. Disagreement over fees is an increasing source of dental patient complaints. MDDUS dental adviser Doug Hamilton highlights some common pitfalls.
  • Blog: Reduce complaints by increasing positivity. Evidence suggests that taking a more positive approach to patient encounters can reduce complaints and increase patient satisfaction scores. Use this blog by MDDUS senior risk adviser, Liz Price, to identify areas for improvement in your own interactions to reduce negative experiences for patients.