At The Essex Smile Centre we want to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service. We take complaints very seriously indeed. If a patient makes a complaint, we will deal with the matter courteously and promptly so that it is resolved as quickly as possible. Our complaints policy and procedures are based on these objectives.
We have an effective complaints system in place to ensure that identifying, receiving, recording, handling and responding to any comments, observations, concerns or complaints occurs within a strict timetable that is clearly documented. Our Code of Practice for patients who wish to raise concerns is displayed in the patient information folder and all patients and visitors should feel confident that they will be listened to and responded to without fear of discrimination or recrimination. Our Complaints Policy and Procedures are on our website https://www.essexdentist.co.uk/ and in the practice information folder.
We aim to ensure that any complainant is treated sensitively and in a manner that respects their human rights and diversity.
We recognise that a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction with our service, treatment or advice and that a complaint can be made by a variety of methods, including verbally, by sign language or in writing.
In situations where a patient may lack confidence to express their views, or require help to do so, they will be supported by helpful team members. All patients’ complaints are fully documented and investigated and are dealt with fairly.
At The Essex Smile Centre we view complaints as an opportunity to improve our service delivery and to learn lessons that will help us make changes with the intention of avoiding a repetition of any similar complaint.
To help us learn lessons from complaints, we track and analyse all our complaints to identify trends that will help us improve our service.
The Practice Managers at each location ensure our complaints procedures are monitored reviewed regularly by our operations manager Michelle Murphy
This policy and relevant procedures will be reviewed annually and are due for review on 27/01/2021 or prior to this date in accordance with new guidance or legislative changes or as a result of learnings following a complaint.
If a patient complains on the telephone, at the reception desk or anywhere else in the practice, we will listen sympathetically to their complaint and make notes about his/her issues or problems, provided that the patient consents to us doing this.
Having first listened to the patient’s complaint, we will offer to refer him/her to the Practice Manager immediately. If the Practice Manager is not available at the time, the patient will be advised of when they will be able to speak to him/her and arrangements will be made for this to happen. If the patient has consented to their concerns or issues being written down, the team member will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. If we cannot arrange this within a reasonable time period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for a Practice Principal, either Stephen Keane or Declan Keane to deal with it.
Our aim in handling verbal complaints is always to try to resolve the issue to the patient’s satisfaction so that it does not escalate and become a written complaint.
If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Practice Manager. Complaints about clinical care or associated charges will be referred to the clinician concerned, unless the patient does not want this to happen. If a claim has begun, or if a complaint to one of the regulatory bodies has been made or intimated, advice and assistance should be sought from the relevant registrant’s indemnity provider. A written response to a complaint with an accompanying copy of our code of conduct and Complaints Policy and Procedures will be sent as soon as possible, normally within two working days. We will investigate the complaint to enable us to give an explanation of the circumstances that led to the complaint within ten working days of receipt. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation. We make and keep proper and comprehensive records of any complaint received.
If patients are not satisfied with the result of our procedure, then a complaint may be made to:
The Dental Complaints Service for complaints about private treatment Address: Stephenson House, 2 Cherry Orchard, Croydon, CR0 6BA Phone: 0208 253 0800 Email: [email protected]
The General Dental Council Address: 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ Phone: 0207 167 6000 Email: [email protected]
The Care Quality Commission Address: Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE14PA Phone: 03000 616161 Email: [email protected]
The Essex Smile Centre Code of Practice for patients who wish to raise concerns
At The Essex Smile Centre we place great emphasis on meeting and whenever possible, exceeding our patients’ expectations. We try to ensure that all patients are pleased with their experience of our service and we take any concerns a patient may have very seriously.
If you have a concern regarding any aspect of your care, please let us know. We will do all that we can to resolve your concern to your satisfaction promptly and professionally.
Our aim is to respond to your concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
If you raise an issue you are concerned or unhappy about on the telephone or at the reception desk, after listening to a description of the problem the person with whom you raise your concern will try to resolve the issue to your satisfaction immediately.
If the person with whom you raise your concern is unable to resolve the issue for any reason, we will contact the Practice Manager immediately. Should the Practice Manager be unavailable at the time, we will advise you when they will be available, and arrangements will be made for you to meet or speak with him/her.
If for any reason the Practice Manager is going to be unable to meet you or speak with you at a time that is convenient to you, we will arrange for a Practice Principal either Sanjay Chopra or Philip Hayter to take responsibility for dealing with your concern or complaint.
The team member with whom you first raised your concern will take brief details from you and pass these to the Practice Manager or Practice Principal so that they can familiarise themselves with your concern prior to meeting you or speaking with you.
If you choose to write to us to express your concern rather than raising it verbally, your letter or email will be passed on to the relevant person immediately.
We will acknowledge any concerns you raise in writing within two days and we will also include a copy of this Code of Practice with our response. We will investigate your concern and report back within ten working days of it being received. If we are unable to complete our investigations within ten working days for any reason, we will notify you, giving reasons for the delay and the likely period within which the investigation will be completed.
We will confirm the outcome of the investigation and any decisions made in writing.
We will keep proper and comprehensive records of any concerns or complaints received.
We will do all we can to resolve your issue, concern or complaint to your satisfaction. If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with the outcome or the procedure, we will advise you of other avenues open to you for raising concerns. These are:
The Dental Complaints Service for complaints about private treatment. Address: Stephenson House, 2 Cherry Orchad, Croydon, CR0 6BA Phone: 0208 253 0800 Email: [email protected]
The General Dental Council (GDC) (the clinicians’ professional regulator]. Address: 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ Phone: 0207 167 6000 Email: [email protected]
The Care Quality Commission (the regulator for all of health and social care) Address: Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE14PA Phone: 03000 616161 Email: [email protected]
Appointment Cancellation Policy
It is the aim of this practice to provide quality dental care to our patients on schedule and to use clinical time effectively. To achieve this aim, we have an appointment cancellation policy.
Cancellation of an appointment
Patients are requested to give at least 24 hours notice to cancel a dental appointment. Cancellations should be made by telephone on: 01268 742333
There is a fee for private dental appointments that are missed or cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.
It is our aim to telephone or write to patients after a missed appointment to understand the reason for non-attendance and to inform them about any fee or decision about their dental care.
Any appeals about missed or cancelled appointment decisions by a patient should be made in writing to to the Operations Manager Michelle Murphy.