Membership information 0800 561 9000
Dentolegal advice 0800 561 1010

Quick Facts

What to do when a complaint is received…
19 January 2015
Last reviewed


When the practice receives a complaint it must acknowledge the complaint not later than 3 working days after the day on which it was received. At the same time, an offer must be made to discuss with the patient the handling of the complaint and the likely period for the investigation and response.

Text for consideration - insert your own words as appropriate:

  • I plan to handle you complaint in the following way:
  • Interviewing the following team members ____
  • Reviewing your dental records.
  • Arranging a second opinion for you with ____
  • Meeting with you, if you so wish.
  • Reviewing additional information. This will include information from your new dentist.
  • I anticipate that once all this information is to hand my investigation will be complete within ____ working days and I will be in a position to provide you with a response within ____ working days.
  • I would like to discuss this with you either in person or on the telephone and with this in mind I would invite you to telephone me on ____ for an initial discussion.
Investigating a complaint
  1. Once the complaint is received, the practice must;
    investigate the complaint and
  2. keep the complainant informed as to the progress of the investigation.

The investigation may include:

  • talking to staff involved in the incident or event that led to the complaint
  • speaking to the complainant to find out more about the circumstances of their complaint
  • examining records relating to the complaint (eg patient records, appointment system, etc)
  • a second opinion
  • reviewing processes and procedures that may have contributed to the event or incident
  • identifying improvements that need to be made to prevent a similar complaint happening in future.

The practice must send the complainant a written response, signed by the responsible person, which includes:

  1. an explanation of how the complaint has been considered;
  2. the conclusions reached in relation to the complaint, including any remedial action needed;
  3. confirmation that the practice is satisfied that any action needed in consequence of the complaint has been taken or is planned; and
  4. details of the complainant's right to take their complaint to the Ombudsman.