Patient complaints procedure

Complaints Procedure 

Here at the practice we take complaints very seriously indeed and try to ensure that every patient is pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. Our procedure is based on the objectives listed below. Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to patients’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way. 

1. The person responsible for dealing with any complaint about the service which we provide is: Dr Aman Ruprah (Principal Dentist) / Mrs Vicky White (Senior Receptionist). 
2. If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, they will be asked for their name and the details surrounding their concerns. We will listen to their complaint and if requested offer to refer them to Dr Aman Ruprah / Mrs V White immediately, if they are available; however this may not always be possible. 
3. If Dr Aman Ruprah / Mrs V White are not available, the patient will be told when they will be able to talk to the dentist and arrangements will be made for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint to pass them on. If we cannot arrange this within a reasonable period of time or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for someone else to deal with it until their Dr Aman Ruprah/Mrs V White are available. 
4. If the patient complains in writing, the letter will be passed on immediately to: Dr Aman Ruprah / Mrs V White 
5. If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges, it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen. However, in order to investigate any complaint effectively, it may be necessary to liaise with the dentist for clarification if the complaint is to be fully understood. These facts will/might be necessary to accurately bring the complaint to a satisfactory conclusion.
6. We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible – normally within three working days from its receipt. We will seek to investigate the complaint within 10 working days of the complaint being received, to enable us to give an explanation and understand the circumstances that led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet with us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within 10 working days, we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed. (This may be due to a significant employee/clinician being off sick or on annual leave). 
7. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing to the patient immediately after our investigation is completed. 
8. Accurate, proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received, and any communications made, such as details of communication, dates, times and names. 
9. If patients are not satisfied following our complaint procedure, a complaint may be made to NHS England’s new centralised Customer Contact Centre (CCC), which will handle/co-ordinate all patient complaints, along with Freedom of Information requests and general queries relating to services commissioned by area teams on behalf of NHS England. All patient queries that would have been directed to the PCT should now go through the CCC as follows:
Tel: 0300 311 22 33 
Write to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT 

Policy for preventing violence and aggression at work 
• This policy is designed to protect everyone who works at the practice from possible harm from violent or aggressive behaviour. It also helps to fulfil the practice’s obligations to provide a safe place of work. 
• Our philosophy is that violence is unacceptable in any form and for whatever reason. 
• It is the responsibility of every member of the practice to take reasonable care of his or her health and safety and of that of other persons who might be affected by his or her acts and omissions at work. 
• This policy covers everyone who is engaged by the practice including self-employed contractors, temporary and casual workers. 
• The operation of this policy is the responsibility of Dr Aman Ruprah 
• We define violence and aggression as:
• Actual or threatened physical assaults on staff 
• Psychological abuse of staff 
• Verbal abuse which includes shouting, swearing and gestures 
• Threats against practice personnel which occur in the workplace 

• The workplace is defined as the practice premises and all other premises where work is undertaken as part of the person’s official duties. Travelling to and from the workplace other than practice premises is also included in this definition. 
• To comply with this policy we will:
• undertake a risk assessment 
• ensure that the practice premises are secure 
• install a panic button at the reception desk and check it’s function weekly 
• provide regular training in dealing with difficult/aggressive patients
• provide training in dealing with assaults 
• provide personnel who are required to stay on the premises after 9pm, where necessary, with the cost of a taxi home 
• provide personnel who are required to do domiciliary visits with a personal alarm (this is no longer an active feature 2015) 
• aim to operate an effective appointment system and make the reception area as relaxing as possible to minimise delays and tension 
• operate a protocol for dealing with out of hours emergencies, including logging calls 

• All incidents (however trivial) must be reported at once to Dr Ruprah and a recording form completed. In the event of any actual or threatened violence, the police will be called. Injuries will be recorded in the accident book. 
• The practice will undertake to provide support, assistance and, if necessary, counselling, to members of the practice who are victims of violence and aggression in the course of their work. In appropriate cases, a discretionary period of sick leave on full pay will be grated. 
• This policy will be reviewed and updated regularly. 

Appointments Policy
At our practice we will endeavour to continually manage our appointment system to avoid delays in our patients’ appointment times and minimise the loss of surgery time through cancellations and failed appointments. 
In our Practice we:- 
• Communicate with patients in a courteous, friendly and professional manner at all times, as we would wish to be spoken too. 
• Make sure that all our patients receive full information about our services, their treatment and all the costs involved. 
• Provide advice and treatment outside normal surgery hours where necessary, backed by the out-of-hours 111 number. 
• Refer patients for further professional advice and treatment where appropriate. 

We promise to:
• Manage our appointment system so that treatment appointments are booked no more than 10-12 weeks ahead where possible. 
• Ensure that patients should have to wait no longer than 10 minutes to be seen. Where there is a further delay we will explain the reasons. 
• Attempt a courtesy call to remind our patients by phone or e-mail (as preferred) for all their appointments when staffing levels permit. 
• Monitor our waiting times for (i) treatment and (ii) for booking appointments. 
• Provide as much notice as possible when appointments have to be changed or cancelled and explain the reasons for this. 
• Advise all patients if there is a change of dentist/hygienist for their scheduled appointments. 

In return, we would like patients to:- 
• Participate in your dental treatment, particularly any advice about prevention and diet that we have asked you to continue at home. 
• Advise us of any changes to any of your personal contact details to keep our records up-to-date and ensure we are able to contact you. 
• Arrive on time for your appointment. Please give the practice at least 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to keep your appointment. 

We may charge for any missed private appointments where we have NOT been notified (at the dentist’s discretion). 

For NHS patients who miss an appointment on more than two occasions without notification, please be advised that we may review the future provision of your NHS dental treatment at this practice; you may have to seek the care of another dentist.