Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints
Our policy and procedure information
At Largs Dental Care our aim is to give the best possible care and treatment to our patients.
All feedback, comments, concerns and complaints (FCCC) about our services are to be encouraged and welcomed from patients and should be dealt with promptly, courteously and efficiently.
FCCC should be viewed as a positive way of looking at what we do and making changes to improve our service to patients. If we cannot resolve matters in the way a patient wants, we will explain to the patient why it is not possible. All views, even those that are anonymous, will be taken seriously.
This policy is in line with the NHS Complaint Handling Procedure 2017.
The practice Feedback and Complaints Officer is Angela Castelvecchi (and in her absence, Hazel Taggart). She is responsible for the management and handling of feedback, comments, concerns and complaints and for seeing complaints through to resolution. See under Contacts for the Ayrshire and Arran Feedback and Complaints Team.
All staff are responsible for being aware of a patient’s right to express their views or to make a complaint and for encouraging patients to do so. Staff must also be aware of the support that is available to patients when making a complaint and make patients aware of this.
The practice encourages patients to express their views by displaying a poster in the waiting room and providing information on the practice website.
Feedback, Comments and Concerns
Our patients have the right to give feedback, make comments and express concerns. We encourage our patients to do so either in person, by telephone, online, in writing or by using the practice suggestion box. Our aim is to sort out any concerns patients may have on the spot, however if this is not possible, we will offer them the opportunity to speak to an appropriate member of staff or the practice’s Feedback and Complaints Officer, especially if the views expressed should be dealt with as a complaint (see below). Feedback from patients will be documented, reviewed and discussed at practice meetings and used to improve the services we provide.
Complaints about NHS treatment
Our patients have the right to make complaints about the NHS care or treatment they have had or are having at the practice; the practice services or facilities; a member of staff; or, how services in the local area are organised if this has affected their care or treatment. Patients cannot make a complaint:
- About anything they are taking legal action about. (NB: we always offer to resolve a complaint through the complaints procedure before legal action commences).
- To request a second opinion in respect of care or treatment
- About a previously conducted complaint, or a request to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given a final decision.
Anyone such as a parent, guardian, carer, relative, friend or MSP may raise a complaint on behalf of a patient, provided they have the patient’s permission to do so. Situations where consent or permission from the patient may not be needed could be if the complaint is on behalf of a child, or if the patient is not able to make this complaint themselves or are unable to provide consent.
Complaints must normally be made within 6 months of the event the patient wants to complain about, or the patient finding out that he/she has reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.
In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If a patient feels the time limit should not apply to their complaint they will need to tell us why. If we decide that, because of the time that has passed since the incident occurred, we cannot consider the complaint, the patient can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to review our decision.
Patients can complain to the practice in person, by phone, or in writing. If the patient intends to e-mail their complaint, we should advise the patient, if possible, that other people may be able to see their personal information.
Patients may not wish to complain directly to the practice therefore details of the practice’s complaints procedure and the contact details of the practice’s Feedback and Complaints Officer, Ayrshire and Arran Feedback and Complaints Team and the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) are provided on a poster.
Complaining on behalf of a patient
Someone can make a complaint on behalf of a patient where they:
- Have the patient’s consent to complain - we may require this in writing;
- Are a parent, guardian or main carer of a child and the child is not mature enough to understand how to complain;
- Have a welfare power of attorney or a welfare guardianship order for someone who cannot make decisions for themselves, and the order specifies that they have the power to make a complaint about healthcare;
- Are a relative of, or had a relationship with, a patient who has died and they are concerned about how their relative was treated before they died; or
- Are acting as an advocate for the patient.
We aim to deal with all complaints promptly, courteously and efficiently and preferably on-the-spot. If complaints cannot be dealt with on-the-spot, we have a two-stage complaints handling procedure:
- Stage 1 : Early Stage resolution
- Stage 2 : Investigation
We will always consider if a complaint can be dealt with at Stage 1. However, if we think the complaint is too complex or serious and clearly needs to be investigated, we will go straight to Stage 2. Patients also have the right to ask for an Investigation (without going through Stage 1).
Stage 1: Early resolution
- The aim is to resolve complaints quickly and close to where the service is provided to the patient. Where appropriate, this might mean giving the patient an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action taken to resolve the problem.
- If some enquiries need to be made before responding to a patient’s complaint, let the patient know a response will be given within 5 working days, using their preferred method of communication.
- In exceptional circumstances, an additional 5 working days may be needed to respond to the complaint but the patient should be kept informed and the extension applied only with the patient’s agreement. Extensions must not become the norm.
- Make the patient aware of the practice’s complaints policy for patients and where they can turn to for support for making a complaint, e.g. the Patient Advice and Support Service (see Contacts).
- Offer to meet with the patient to discuss the matter, if they prefer;
- In the response offer an apology where appropriate, an explanation and an indication of any identified improvements.
- If the patient is not happy with the Stage 1 response to their complaint, follow Stage 2 Investigation.
- Ensure all complaints are recorded as soon as possible within 5 working days.
Stage 2: Investigation
We use the investigation stage where:
- the complaint is complex and it clearly requires detailed investigation; or
- the patient is not satisfied with our Stage 1 Early Resolution response to their complaint.
- The patient has asked for an immediate investigation.
In this stage we will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing within 3 working days letting the patient know what action we will be taking and where they can find support for making a complaint, e.g. Patent Support and Advice (PASS) (see Contacts). Provide a copy of the practice’s complaints procedure for patients if they do not already have it.
- Let the patient know that their complaint will be kept confidential but that we may have to talk to other NHS staff or show them their dental record in order to investigate the complaint; ask the patient to let the practice know as soon as possible if they do not want us to share information
- Following investigation, respond to the complaint in writing and using the patient’s preferred method of communication, if different, within 20 working days.
- If unable to keep to this timescale, let the patient know, giving the reason why and agree a revised time limit with them.
- In the response let the patient know the result of the investigation and:
- offer an apology if things have gone wrong;
- show that we have looked into the complaint and reply to all the points the patient has made;
- explain what we will do to stop what they complained about happening again;
- if necessary, explain why we cannot do anything more about some parts of the complaint;
- offer the patient the chance to talk to a member of staff if there is anything in the letter they do not understand;
- include information about the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in case they are unhappy with the response or the way we have handled the complaint and they want to take things further.
- Ensure all complaints are recorded as soon as possible and within 5 working days, and that as matters progress the record is kept up to date.
Recording Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints
We record all Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints.
When a patient makes a complaint, it will be recorded as soon as possible and within 5 working days (see our Record of Complaint). If the complaint is a more complex one, the record will be kept up to date as matters progress until the complaint is closed. It is important that records are kept up to date.
All FCCCs will be kept confidential and will be reviewed, discussed and documented at practice meetings and used to improve the services we provide
Reporting Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints
We submit quarterly statistics on complaints and annual statistics on feedback, comments and concerns to Ayrshire and Arran.
Complaints about private treatment
We follow the same complaints procedure for complaints about private treatment. However, if a patient requires help with making their complaint, or if they are not satisfied with our response to their complaint, the Dental Complaints Service (a department of the General Dental Council) offers a complaints resolution service for private dental patients and dentists (see Contacts).
Change of mind
Patients can change their mind about making a complaint at any time. They can do this in writing or by phone.
If the patient is not happy with our response to their complaint
If the patient is still not happy with our response, or if they are not happy with the way we are dealing with their complaint, e.g. if they think we are taking too long, they can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to consider their complaint further.
General Dental Services (for complaints about private treatment)
Dental Complaints Service
2 Cherry Orchard Road
NHS Feedback and Complaints Manager
Ayrshire and Arran’s Feedback and Complaints Team
PO Box 13, Eglinton House
Ayr, KA6 6AB
Tel: 01292 513620
Helpline: 0800 22 44 88 (textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88)
Patient Advice and Support Service - Available via Citizens Advice Scotland
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
4 Melville Street
Freepost EH641, Edinburgh EH3 0BR
Tel: 0800 377 7330
Open from 9.00am – 5.00pm (Mon – Fri), from 10.00am – 5.00pm (Tues)
Last reviewed: May 2023