GDC launches dental complaints system
 

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GDC launches dental complaints system

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GDC launches dental complaints system

 

GDC launches dental complaints system

An independent service to resolve complaints about private dental care as quickly and transparently as possible has been launched by the General Dental Council (GDC).

The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) will use a team of advisors, healthcare professionals and members of the public to deal with the approximately 2,000 - 4,000 annual complaints received.

In seeking to avoid court action, the GDC will recommend that apologies and fee refunds are offered as solutions.

Hew Mathewson, president of the GDC, said: ‘The aim of setting up the DCS is to help dental patients resolve complaints about private dental care as fairly, efficiently, transparently and quickly as we can.’

Before its launch, only NHS patients could make complaints via the NHS complaints service. If issues were unresolved for private patients, there were few remaining options.

With the new contract causing many practitioners to go private, the establishment of a complaints procedure is good news for some people in the profession, including the health minister Rosie Winterton.

She said: ‘It is widely recognised that a complaints service for private patients, parallel to that for NHS patients, is long overdue. The GDC is to be congratulated on setting up this new initiative.’

The service is for patients who have lodged a complaint about a private practice, but have been unable to reach a solution. Advisers at the DCS will now take up the matter and discuss the problem with the dentist and patient involved.

If the problem still remains, following advisor intervention, the complaint will be passed on to a regional panel consisting of two members of the public.

They will meet with both the complainant and the healthcare worker involved and make recommendations on how best to resolve the issue.

The DCS is aiming for 80% of the disputes raised to be settled by an advisor without using a regional panel.

The launch of the service coincides with the release of a new guide on how to handle complaints about private practitioners from the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

The DDU however, has expressed concerns about parts of the complaints procedure. They fear it may fail to safeguard the rights of dentists unwilling to go along with recommendations made by the regional panel.

They are also concerned that once a decision has been made by the DCS, the patient and dentist have no rights of appeal.
Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, head of the DDU, has advised his members ‘To seek advice immediately if they receive any complaint, including those that involve the DCS.’

Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the launch of the service.

He said: ‘When complaints are made it’s in everyone’s interest that they’re dealt with quickly and fairly. The BDA has long campaigned for a private complaints procedure.’

For further information visit: www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk, call 08456 120540, or email info@dentalcomplaints.org.uk.

 Posted on : Wed 7th - Jun - 2006

 

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