In my experience, the vast majority of orthodontic patients are extremely happy with the treatment and service they receive from their orthodontic practice. On the rare occasions patients voice dissatisfaction over social media, the practices are fast to react and the issue is presumably resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Working with a number of other dental organisations including the British Orthodontic Society, the General Dental Council has developed a set of universal principles for good complaint handling which it hopes the majority of practices will adopt over the coming months. The six core principles are:

  • All of your feedback is important to us
    • All feedback is welcomed, such as what we did well, what we could do better, or any other feedback
    • We will use your feedback to help us improve, and we will show you how we have learned
    • You can use our complaints procedure to provide feedback. If you don’t want to do this, speak to
      a member of staff
  • We want to make it easy for you to raise a concern or complain if you need to
    • Information about our complaints procedure is easy to find, without you having to ask
    • You can write to us or tell us in person
    • We will take your complaint seriously
    • Our complaints information also tells you how to raise a complaint about us with another organisation
  • We follow a complaints procedure and keep you informed
    • We will tell you who is dealing with your complaint and when to expect a response
    • We will keep you informed of the progress of your complaint, including information on any delays
    • You should feel confident we are following our complaints procedure
  • We will try to answer all your questions and any concerns you raise
    • It should be clear to you what happened, and why
    • Our response should be empathetic in tone and coordinated
    • We will deal with your complaint in the time we said we would
  • We want you to have a positive experience of making a complaint
    • You should feel we have followed a clear procedure in the time we said we would
    • You should not be treated differently if you complain
    • You understand how the outcome of your complaint was reached
    • You feel you could raise a complaint again if needed and could recommend our procedure to others
    • You feel we have listened to you and have acted in a fair way
    • You know what further help is available if you are unhappy with the way we have handled your complaint
  • Your feedback helps us to improve our service
    • We are learning all the time from your feedback and complaints
    • We show you how your feedback and complaints are listened to and acted upon
    • All members of our dental team are committed to improving the service we provide

In addition to this, they have produced some resources for dental practices to display in their patient areas so you may see new posters appearing soon!

From a patient perspective, this means that if you are unhappy with any aspect of your treatment and wish to raise a complaint, you should find the process easier. Each practice must have a complaints procedure which is clearly displayed with a simple process to follow including the name of the person you should raise the complaint to. The majority of practices would wish to deal with the issue quickly and efficiently as they would value the long-term relationship with you as their patient but should you find their response lacking, you should find these principles will help.

Image © GDC