This policy statement sets out how this practice handles complaints at this practice so that they are dealt with quickly to avoid escalation, and to minimise any detrimental effects on patients, team members or the clinic.
This policy is required because complaints are an important measure of overall client satisfaction; for every complainant, there were usually others who had similar experiences but did not come forward to express their dissatisfaction. In addition, statistics show that unhappy clients share their experiences with others far more than happy clients and this can have a negative effect on clients’ confidence in us. Complaints posted on internet sites can amplify these out of proportion.
Getting to the root cause of complaints and proactively making changes to reduce them helps us to improve services in order to consistently deliver a high-quality client experience, thus strengthening client loyalty and increasing word of mouth recommendations.
All team members, whether permanent, temporary, employed or contracted to provide services at or on behalf of the clinic, are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of and comply with the requirements of this policy as well as the procedures and guidelines supporting it.
This policy is underpinned by the following procedures/guidelines:
- Procedure for Making a Complaint
- Procedure for Handling Complaints
All team members are expected to improve their personal effectiveness through continuing personal and professional development which leads to an increase of knowledge and/or skills.
All team members are trained in following a user-led vision for raising concerns and complaints:
- Considering a complaint
- Making a complaint
- Staying informed
- Receiving outcomes
- Reflection on the experience
It is the individual responsibility on team members to:
- Make sure that there is a clear and effective complaints procedure readily available for patients to use, and follow that procedure at all times
- Respect a patient’s right to complain
- Give patients who complain a prompt and constructive response
We support this by ensuring that all team members know that they are expected to:
- listen carefully to comments, criticisms and complaints, to understand the client’s perspective and desired outcome
- respond swiftly, empathetically and constructively to address their concerns as outlined in our practice procedure for handling complaints
- improve services to reduce the risk of future complaints
Lessons learnt from complaints are brought to team meetings for shared learning and continuous quality improvement. Feedback analysis is a routine critical thinking exercise in which positive and negative comments are discussed in a ‘safe’ (blame free) environment with a clear emphasis on:
- Team learning from good and bad feedback
- Identifying solutions g. new procedures, personal/professional development
- Implementing a change in practice
Root cause analysis of complaints generally identifies areas for improvement in 3 broad categories:
- Place – improve environment, improve access, improve image
- People – improve interactions and inter-personal relationship building with better verbal and non-verbal communication skills; improve clinical care or customer care with training
- Processes – improve transactions with more effective and efficient management e.g. of appointments, waiting times, uptake or progression of care plans, working with laboratories, referrals, recalls, teamwork, audits
Training in complaints handling is a CORE Continuing Professional Development requirement as part of the 5-yearly re-certification cycle for all General Dental Council registrants, and all registrants must produce certificates of verifiable training to demonstrate compliance with the current recommended training requirements
Our relationship with clients is key to our success, and it is a team wide responsibility to exceed patient expectations by providing a safe, caring, responsive, effective and well led service.
Our procedure for making a complaint:
- is outlined on the clinic website
- is clearly written in plain language and can be made available in other formats if needed
- is easy for patients to understand and follow
- supports team members to investigate complaints in a full and fair way, deal with complaints promptly and efficiently and share learning to improve services
- explains the possible outcomes
- respects clients’ confidentiality
In order to ensure our services are safe, efficient and effective, team members are also involved in our quality monitoring and improvement processes including:
- Complaints audits to monitor individual performance in handling complaints and to identify any areas that need to be improved
- Patient satisfaction surveys
- Routine feedback/incident/significant event analysis (SEA)
Responsibilities and accountabilities
The registered provider for the clinic is Rosie Sutton, whose key responsibilities are to ensure that all aspects of this policy are complied with. The day to day responsibilities for providing leadership and guidance for staff and overseeing implementation of this policy will be also undertaken by Rosie Sutton. Questions about this policy or associated procedures should be raised with either of the above.
This policy has been approved by the undersigned and will be reviewed on an annual basis.
Name: Rosie Sutton
Date approved: 3/8/2021
Last reviewed on: 3/8/2022
We take complaints very seriously, investigating them in a full and fair way. If you are not fully satisfied with our care and service then please let us know as soon as possible to allow us to address your concerns promptly.
Please address your complaint to Dr Rosie Sutton, Tweak East, 6 Westgate Street, London E8 3RN, or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints will be acknowledged in writing or in person within 48 hours We will take details in regards to your complaint and arrange a meeting at a time that is suitable for you at our clinic.
Formal complaints are investigated and aim to be resolved within 10–35 days. If the complaint is not resolved within 20 days, the complainant, clinicians and staff who are directly involved in the complaint will be provided with an update.