News spotlight: ‘I’m not complaining, but…’
 

Dental News
Article detail

See the following article detail about

News spotlight: ‘I’m not complaining, but…’

0845 527 9810

Article details for

News spotlight: ‘I’m not complaining, but…’

 

News spotlight: ‘I’m not complaining, but…’

According to recent research, a quarter of dental patients (26%) have wanted to complain about their dental care but didn't.

So, based on this finding, consider this: a quarter of the patients at your practice have had a concern about their dental care but didn't complain.

A third have complained, but of those, half felt that you didn't resolve their complaint satisfactorily. Therefore, just one third of your patients have never had cause to complain.

These statistics are according to a survey by the Dental Complaints Service (DCS).

"It's certainly better to have a complaint out in the open for you to resolve, rather than out on the street, where it can be shared with a dozen or more potential patients among family and friends," Hazel Adams, head of the DCS


Of the dental patients surveyed, a third (37%) had complained about some aspect of their dental care, says the DCS, which is free to use and which has helped resolve more than 5,000 complaints about private dental care since its launch three years ago.

Half (53%) of those in the survey who did complain to their dental practice felt their complaint wasn't resolved satisfactorily.

In the last three years, the DCS has received more than 20,000 calls and the facility can also advise on where to go with complaints about NHS dentistry.

The DCS was set up by, but is independent of, the General Dental Council (GDC).

In the survey, the DCS asked whether respondents had ever complained, and crucially, whether they had wanted to complain, but hadn't. What was interesting was that almost as many patients had wanted to complain compared with those who actually did – a quarter of patients, compared to a third.

What it suggests is that one in four of the patients at your practice has a potential complaint that you should be identifying and tackling. Really? One in four? Perhaps – it may be fewer, it may be more. What is certain is that a lot of patients think that they have had cause to complain.

Adding up the figures
Although the DCS considers mainly complaints about private dental care – though they can also consider mixed NHS/private complaints – the DCS surveyed NHS and private dental patients, partly because patients often don't know which side of the fence they're on.

Of those who complained, the most common reasons were:
• 13% felt they were receiving ‘treatment that didn't fix the problem'
• 12% the cost of treatment 
• 8% treatment that went wrong
• 7% inconvenient appointment times
• 6% receiving treatment that didn't seem necessary
• 6% an unspecified ‘other reason'. Some respondents nominated more than one reason.

What about patients who wanted to complain but didn't? Their most common (unvoiced) concerns were:
• 33% the cost of treatment
• 14% ineffective treatment
• 13% inconvenient appointments
• 13% unnecessary treatment.

So, why didn't people complain? This is perhaps where practices have most to learn, initially. Most common reasons not to complain were because:
• 35% it wouldn't ‘be worth it'
• 17% patients lacked confidence
• 15% feared ‘negative comeback'
• 9% implied they didn't know where to take their complaint.

Ten per cent of those surveyed – 12 per cent of men and eight per cent of women – never went to the dentist. Men who did and complained were more likely (49%) to be satisfied than women (44%). A third (37%) of dental patients had never wanted to complain.

The DCS commissioned the survey because they wanted to find out whether dental patients were satisfied with their care, and if they weren't, whether they complained, and about what.

What's your reaction? You may object that your practice hasn't received complaints from a third of its patients, and you may be right: other practices, elsewhere, may be getting more than their ‘fair share' of complaints. We don't know what a ‘complaint' is. ‘Why aren't appointments running to time?' might be one – and we don't know how old some of these complaints are.

But here's an ideal opportunity to acknowledge that complaints are a fact of life. We all make mistakes and misjudgements. The point is how we deal with them.

You may have read the list of reasons why patients didn't complain and thought – well, that's patients for you. They lack the confidence to complain. They think it won't be worth it. They even fantasise about ‘negative comeback'!

Perhaps, it's your practice's role – your role – to address these issues. Give patients the confidence to complain. Ensure it's worth their while. Assure them you value complaints.

One of the principles set out in the General Dental Council (GDC) guidance, Standards for dental professionals, is to ‘put patients' interests first and act to protect them'. The guidance continues: ‘Give patients who make a complaint about the care or treatment they have received a helpful response at the appropriate time. Respect the patient's right to complain.'

That means ensuring that you have an effective complaints procedure where you work and that you follow it at all times, adds the guidance. It's sound advice. A complaint, by the way, is defined as “any expression of dissatisfaction by a patient (or their representative) about a dental service or treatment whether justified or not.”

Put like that, complaints can be useful to help identify weaknesses in the service you offer – and give you the opportunity to act on them.

We're here to help. In the last three years, the Dental Complaints Service has received more than 20,000 calls to its local rate 08456 120540 complaints hotline, and helped to resolve more than 5,000 complaints. Two thirds of complaints logged are resolved within a fortnight, benefiting patient and practice alike. Undoubtedly, the success of the DCS so far has been due in part to the commitment of dental professionals, who have engaged overwhelmingly positively.

A number of the complaints we have received – and helped to resolve – have been at the suggestion of dental professionals themselves. We can help particularly with complaints that have run their course within the practice, and now seem endless and intractable.

If you do nothing else, you should try to identify those one in four patients – perhaps fewer, maybe more – who wanted to complain but didn't.

Patient survey
When was the last time you did your own patient survey or even asked patients to complete a feedback form after a course of treatment?

It's certainly better to have a complaint out in the open for you to resolve, rather than out on the street, where it can be shared with a dozen or more potential patients among family and friends.

 Posted on : Tue 29th - Sep - 2009

 

Call Dental Support UK

Premium IT Support

  • All Servers & workstations covered..
  • Saturday Cover INCLUDED.
  • Telephone support.
  • Remote support.
  • 4 hour on-site Server response.
  • System monitoring.
  • Network monitoring and security.
  • Anti-Virus & Application updates.
  • Unlimited Remote Server Data backup.
  • Loan equipment on hardware failure.
  • Reduced rates for PC parts supply & installations.

No matter how big
your practice you
pay the same
price!!


ONLY

Click here for more info
Dental News Archives 2018

August - 2018
July - 2018
June - 2018
May - 2018
April - 2018
March - 2018
February - 2018
January - 2018

Dental News Archives 2017

December - 2017
November - 2017
October - 2017
September - 2017
August - 2017
July - 2017
June - 2017
May - 2017
April - 2017
March - 2017
February - 2017
January - 2017

Dental News Archives 2016

December - 2016
November - 2016
October - 2016
September - 2016
August - 2016
July - 2016
June - 2016
May - 2016
April - 2016
March - 2016
February - 2016
January - 2016

Dental News Archives 2015

December - 2015
November - 2015
October - 2015
September - 2015
August - 2015
July - 2015
June - 2015
May - 2015
April - 2015
March - 2015
February - 2015
January - 2015

Dental News Archives 2014

December - 2014
November - 2014
October - 2014
September - 2014
August - 2014
July - 2014
June - 2014
May - 2014
April - 2014
March - 2014
February - 2014
January - 2014

Dental News Archives 2013

December - 2013
November - 2013
October - 2013
September - 2013
August - 2013
July - 2013
June - 2013
May - 2013
April - 2013
March - 2013
February - 2013
January - 2013

Dental News Archives 2012

December - 2012
November - 2012
October - 2012
September - 2012
August - 2012
July - 2012
June - 2012
May - 2012
April - 2012
March - 2012
February - 2012
January - 2012

Dental News Archives 2011

January - 2011
February - 2011
March - 2011
April - 2011
May - 2011
June - 2011
July - 2011
August - 2011
September - 2011
October - 2011
November - 2011
December - 2011

Dental News Archives 2010

December - 2010
November - 2010
October - 2010
September - 2010
August - 2010
July - 2010
June - 2010
May - 2010
April - 2010
March - 2010
February - 2010
January - 2010

Dental News Archives 2009

December - 2009
November - 2009
October - 2009
September - 2009
August - 2009
July - 2009
June - 2009
May - 2009
April - 2009
March - 2009
February - 2009
January - 2009

Dental News Archives 2008

December - 2008
November - 2008
October - 2008
September - 2008
August - 2008
July - 2008
June - 2008
May - 2008
April - 2008
March - 2008
February - 2008
January - 2008

Dental News Archives 2007

December - 2007
November - 2007
October - 2007
September - 2007
August - 2007
July - 2007
June - 2007
May - 2007
April - 2007
March - 2007
February - 2007
January - 2007

Dental News Archives 2006

December - 2006
November - 2006
October - 2006
September - 2006
August - 2006
July - 2006
June - 2006
May - 2006
April - 2006
March - 2006
February - 2006
January - 2006

Dental News Archives 2005

December - 2005
November - 2005
October - 2005
September - 2005
August - 2005
July - 2005
June - 2005
May - 2005

hide toolbar
Would you like weekly updates on our latest offers? If so enter your email :
Quick Remote Dental Support