What is the Dental Complaints Service?
The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) deals with complaints made against dental professionals in a non-NHS environment.
Although funded by the General Dental Council, the DCS is an entirely independent body.
It guarantees a free and impartial service to members of the public and to dental professionals.
What does it do?
If a complaint is upheld against a dental professional, complainants may receive the following:
An explanation and/or apology for what has happened
A full or partial refund of fees in relation to the failed treatment
Remedial treatment from the dental professional, if both parties are in agreement
A contribution towards remedial treatment so that the work can be completed by another dental professional at the same practice or at an alternative practice.
What doesn’t it do?
The DCS doesn’t deal with complaints about incidents that occurred in an NHS environment. These are dealt with by the GDC. You can read our guide to the GDC here.
The DCS only deals with complaints about GDC registrants. Although this covers all dental professionals in the UK, occasionally a complaint will be made against a non-registered member like a practice manager. In these cases the DCS are unable to help.
The DCS doesn’t have the power to declare a dental professional as unfit to practice. It can however refer professionals to the GDC, who can remove their registration and prevent them from working in the UK.
The DCS is unable to award compensation. If a complainant seeks compensation they should contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.
How does the complaints system work?
The DCS complaints system has three stages.
The patient is encouraged to contact the surgery to try to resolve the issue locally.
If agreement can’t be reached, the DCS will contact the dental registrant and discuss the issue with them to try to reach a resolution.
If agreement still can’t be reached, the DCS will require both parties to attend a panel, made up of one dental registrant and two laypersons. Both parties will have a chance to make their case in an informal situation and a ruling will be made.