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May 2021 - Newsletter - Dental Complaints Management

10 May 2021

 Dental Complaints Management

Receiving and resolving patient's complaints is never a welcome addition to a busy work schedule. In general, the place of a business in its consumers' affections will be the product of its attitude and response when things go wrong and a patient complains.

Few of the complaints received by dental businesses are clinical. Common themes for dental complaints are interpersonal relationships and a lack of information; as a result, the patient feels that:

  • They have not received all details of the procedure and what to expect before, during and after the treatment
  • You do not care enough.
  • The treatment has failed to deliver the expected results.
  • The team did not listen to the patient's needs and concerns

Even when the dental team has done everything possible to ensure treatments go as planned, patients may still complain about inadequate post-treatment care or another aspect of their care beyond the team's control.

When a patient complains, initially, try to understand the problem by just listening to the patient. When patients feel listened to, they feel cared about.

Patients want to be heard. Do not stop the patient from explaining all their symptoms; even after the clinical diagnosis has been made, listen sympathetically and suggest the procedure to address their concerns. This will confirm to the patient that you have understood them correctly and suggested treatment will help

Some patients come to the practice with a problem bothering them for days or even weeks. Some of these patients might appear calm and composed; others might be anxious. In either case, they expect the team to be polite. However, due to work pressure, the team might be impatient sometimes, and patients find this unacceptable.

Even in the most stressful situations, dental professionals must be composed and be polite. Even with dissatisfied or angry patients, maintain a polite tone. If their problems are responded to appropriately, they might even write a positive online review

Over 90% of dental patients check online reviews of dentists before they book an appointment. So, it is important to offer patients the best dental experience and address all their concerns before they escalate.

To avoid patients from writing about their negative experience on a public platform, discuss their treatments with them in detail, explain all possible consequences, and make sure that patients are well acquainted with all post-treatment care instructions.

The Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board- Complaints Review

In a highly regulated environment, lead bodies will likely be in conflict with each other. To address such conflicts the Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board was formed.

The board comprises organisations with a role and responsibility for setting, managing, and regulating care provision in England. It aims to jointly ensure that patients receive high-quality, safe dental services from professionals and organisations that are competent and meet national standards, and that services improve.

The board comprises of representatives from:

  • Care Quality Commission
  • Department of Health
  • General Dental Council
  • NHS England.

Its work is supported and underpinned by:

  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • Healthwatch England and the local Healthwatch network

The board's purpose is to review the approach to dental regulation across England and assess the effectiveness of current arrangements to develop a more streamlined, joined up and effective model of regulation.

The Boards report, 'Working together, delivering change', looks back at the board's last three years of work; it Includes a Joint statement on the dental complaints system

to clarify to patients the roles of national bodies, giving consistent and clear signposting to the correct route for making a complaint. Following an investigation of the complaints system, the board recognised that:

  • The dental complaints system is complex and confusing for patients, providers, and regulators – especially given the mixed public/private provision of dental services.
  • Overlaps between organisations bring a lack of clarity, with multiple organisations potentially responsible for different aspects of the same complaint.
  • There is a lack of consistency: different organisations are subject to different timeframes for dealing with complaints and cover different UK nations.
  • Patients who initially approach the 'wrong' body may then be lost in the system completely.

In March 2016, the RDSPB held a stakeholder workshop that discussed developing a single public-facing statement on dental complaints, which all our organisations could sign up to. The aim would be to give patients consistent and clear messages about what to do when they have a problem with their dental treatment.

Following an investigation, the board issued a joint statement to clarify :

What do we mean by 'complaints'?

The joint statement covers all dental complaints and concerns, from the relatively minor to those that could have implications for a professional's fitness to practise, and views them as a subset of wider feedback about services – which can be positive or negative. In its ordinary sense, we use 'complaints' to mean any statement that service or individual dentist has not met the standard people would expect.

The statement is primarily intended for dental providers and other relevant bodies to enable them to check that the wording in their patient-facing materials and processes is compatible with it. Patients receive consistent and clear signposting wherever they first enquire. Members of the RDSPB are promoting the statement and using it in communications with patients to clarify the roles of national bodies and ensure a shared understanding of the correct route for complaints.

Patients will not necessarily see the statement itself. However, it was written with them in mind, and we would be happy for organisations to use the content when communicating with them.

In addition to the business-building benefits of successfully resolving customer complaints, dental businesses must observe regulatory requirements for complaints handling. This relates to GDC Principle 5 Have a clear and effective complaints handling system and CQC Regulation 16: Receiving and acting on complaints

Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014:

Regulation 16 Receiving and acting on complaints says:

1. Any complaint received must be investigated, and necessary and proportionate action taken in response to any failure identified by the complaint or investigation.

2. The registered person must establish and operate an accessible system for identifying, receiving, recording, handling, and responding to complaints by service users and other persons concerning the regulated activity.

3. The registered person must provide to the Commission when requested within 28 days of receipt of the request, a summary of—

  • Complaints made
  • Responses made by the registered person and any further correspondence with the complainants concerning the complaints, and
  • Any other relevant information concerning the complaints requested by the Commission

Practices must have an effective complaint handling system for patients to register complaints about their care and treatment. The system must :

  • identify
  • collect
  • handle
  • respond to complaints

Each practice should appoint a complaints lead responsible for ensuring all complaints are thoroughly investigated, and remedial action is taken when the investigation identifies shortfalls.

The CQC can prosecute for a breach of Regulation 16 related to failure to provide information about a complaint within 28 days when requested to do so. They can move directly to prosecution without first serving a Warning Notice. In addition, CQC may take any other regulatory action in response to breaches of this regulation. Regulation 16 says:

16(1) Any complaint received must be investigated, and necessary and proportionate action must be taken in response to any failure identified by the complaint or investigation.

  • People must be able to make a complaint to any staff member, either verbally or in writing.
  • All staff must know how to respond when they receive a complaint.
  • Unless they are anonymous, all complaints should be acknowledged, whether they are written or verbal.
  • Complainants must not be discriminated against or victimised. In particular, people's care and treatment must not be affected if they make a complaint or if somebody complains on their behalf.
  • Appropriate action must be taken without delay to respond to any failures identified by a complaint or the investigation of a complaint.
  • The information must be available to a complainant about how to act if they are not satisfied with how the provider manages and responds to their complaint. Information should include the internal procedures that the provider must follow and should explain when complaints should be escalated to other appropriate bodies.
  • Where complainants escalate their complaint externally because they are dissatisfied with the local outcome, the provider should cooperate with any independent review or process.

16(2) The registered person must establish and operate an accessible system effectively for identifying, receiving, recording, handling, and responding to complaints by service users and other persons concerning the carrying on of the regulated activity.

  • Information and guidance about how to complain must be available and accessible to everyone who uses the service. It should be available in appropriate languages and formats to meet the needs of the people using the service.
  • Providers must tell people how to complain, offer support and provide the level of support needed to help them make a complaint; this may be through advocates, interpreter services, and any other support identified or requested.
  • When complainants do not wish to identify themselves, the provider must still follow its complaints process as far as possible.
  • Providers must have effective systems to make sure that all complaints are investigated without delay; this includes:

    Investigating to establish the immediate action required, including referral to appropriate authorities for investigation. Such as professional regulators or local authority safeguarding teams.

    Ensuring appropriate investigations identify what might have caused the complaint and acting to prevent similar complaints.

    When the complainant has identified themselves, investigating and responding to them and where relevant their family and carers without delay.

  • Providers should monitor complaints over- time, looking for trends and areas of risk that may be addressed.
  • Staff and others involved in the assessment and investigation of complaints must have the right level of knowledge and skill. They should understand the provider's complaints process and be knowledgeable about current related guidance.
  • Consent and confidentiality must not be compromised during the complaints process unless there are professional or statutory obligations that make this necessary, such as safeguarding.
  • Complainants, and those about whom complaints are made, must be kept informed of the status of their complaint and its investigation and be advised of any changes made as a result.
  • Providers must maintain a record of all complaints, outcomes and actions taken in response to complaints. Where no action is taken, the reasons for this should be recorded.
  • Providers must act in accordance with Regulation 20: Duty of Candour in respect of complaints about care and treatment that have resulted in a notifiable safety incident.


16(3) The registered person must provide to the Commission when requested to do so and by no later than 28 days beginning on the day after receipt of the request, a summary of

(a) complaints made under such complaints system,

(b) responses made by the registered person to such complaints and any further correspondence with the complainants concerning such complaints, and

(c) any other relevant information concerning such complaints as the Commission may request

Ensuring that every complaint becomes an opportunity to make improvements is a solution-focused approach to quality development; this approach requires managers to be objective and systematic and to view shortfalls in terms of opportunities to improve systems, team training and ultimately the quality of care provided



If you are looking for support with your team or any training needs please feel to contact us:
Glenys: 07973361390
Rebecca: 07748 156505

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I have just completed the course, the support received from Emma throughout was second to none! I started the course having recently taken on the role as Treatment Coordinator and the knowledge and skills acquired has allowed me to progress in the role. The whole process was smooth and informative and I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks Emma for all of your help!

Molly Rolinson, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Absolutely loved this course, it pushed my current knowledge to a higher level and taught me a lot about myself along the way. Gaining the knowledge that I did and then putting it into assignments was tough at times, but the feedback from Glenys and the verifier made me feel more confident in what I have learnt and also in my role at work, this course has definitely given me the skills for career progression, and I would recommend it to any dental nurse wanting to progress in the field. Glenys is a down to earth tutor with vast knowledge and understanding and is very approachable, her live tutorials are invaluable.

Sue M, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

great course, learnt lots of new information that i can use daily

Rebecca Renehan , Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses

This is an in-depth course that covers many aspects of management and leadership, it encourages you to think outside the box and introduces different methods and scientific theories. I feel my understanding of correct leadership and management has changed for the better as I am applying what I've learned so far into my daily practice. I have been fortunate enough to be assigned to Mrs Gill Adaire who shared her knowledge and experience with me and taught the course content in a way that was so enjoyable and interesting and easy for me to learn. Her dedication, understanding, and support were beyond anything that I expected. I feel that I have been supported fully throughout the course. This course is definitely worth a lot more and I would highly recommend Glenys Bridges &Partners Practice Pathways. I would like to thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity and I am also looking forward to continuing my learning with you in the near future!

Arezoo Wilson, Introduction to Practice Management (Induction Course)


SY, Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

I am very happy to have done this course, especially with Gill Adaire as my teacher in this Mentoring Skills course. The course is well designed, particularly for people like me who are interested in but don't know where to start. I learnt how to plan a structured programme which would benefit me as a mentor as well as my future mentees, in making them confident to take ethical and clinically appropriate decisions. I felt the high point of this course is the flexibility to access the teacher according to my work/personal life schedule. This gave me more freedom to do this at my own pace, rather than set one by someone else. The course has now given me the confidence to train someone and be a mentor to a new dentist and also guide them through the intricacies of dentistry in the UK. My tutor was excellent - engaged, worked on my reflective practice, allowing me to engage myself in the process at my pace. I believe the course is well designed and has the best way to support upcoming mentors. I thank you for the opportunity to learn from the best.

Dr.Anil Shet, First Steps in Peer Mentoring Skills

Just completed this course, and I felt totally supported by my tutor Emma all the way through. It was a very informative course and I feel confident moving forward within the role. Will definitely be using the company again for any other courses going forward. 5 star all the way

Sarah Larkin, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Oh Gosh! what can i say ... Iam thrilled to bits i started this Reception Lead Course. It has given me more of an insight and more knowledge of the understanding of Reception Lead. I feel more aware of my surroundings and the empathy needed within my Job Role. Gill Adaire is the calmest, most considerate person and a joy to talk to. The knowledge Gill has given me to make me a better leader is hard to put into words. The support and advice that Gill has given me have helped my journey into this new chapter. Since starting this course i have been thinking more about how i can improve more of the areas surrounding the Lead Receptionist Role. I have gained confidence so thank you Gill Adaire for your patience and time i will be doing more courses in the near future. Kind Regards. .

Angela Lovat., Introduction to the Lead Receptionist Role

A big thank you to Emma Farrell! This course has been valuable to my dental practice. My employer is impressed with the skills and knowledge I have gained from doing this course!!

Mary Swoffer, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Overall, my experience since starting the course has been really good, I have learnt a lot considering I was a little apprehensive about doing a course online because I have dyslexia I was worried how I’ll upload work and if I’ll learn over zoom, but having that 1 to 1 tutor time made it so much easier/calmer for me, and it felt like it wasn’t a race, I wasn’t shy asking questions and I was at my own pace. I couldn’t of asked for a better tutor, Emma has a lot of knowledge and we always found ourselves laughing in the sessions, I seriously don’t think I would have done this course this quick if it wasn’t for Emma, the level of support was amazing, Emma was always on the other end of the phone if I wasn’t sure about anything before handing my work in. I feel like I’ve achieved so much and I feel like I’m going to give my own patients the best care when they come in to see me.

Mariangela Saudella, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

I’ve just completed this course and found it to be very well structured & informative. Due to the distance learning aspect, it can be fitted around family and work commitments. My tutor Emma was very helpful & supportive throughout. Highly recommend this course :)

Debra Hewitt, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

It is a worthful to do as a dentist because it is a part of hygiene for the patients and the dental team as well as I came to know that how it benefitted in covid era.

A.S.T., Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

Thank you for guiding me through this course which is full of valuable information for dental receptionists early in their career. The zoom meetings really help to understand the work and the videos help to reinforce learning.

Gill Adaire, Introduction to Dental Reception Skills 2023

I found the course very interesting. It gave me more confidence in my job role. I felt the course was at the right level, that if I neeeded advice or support I knew it was always available. To any Lead nurse I would advise to do the course as I feel that it helps you understand the role, understand how to look after and support your team and to feel confident in what you say.

Marie, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

I found the course very interesting. It gave me more confidence in my job role. I felt the course was at the right level, that if I neeeded advice or support I knew it was always available. To any Lead nurse I would advise to do the course as I feel that it helps you understand the role, understand how to look after and support your team and to feel confident in what you say.

Marie, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

Wow what can I say...So happy I did the course. I was extremely nervous about doing this course and finding the right one. Emma is such a pleasure to deal with. Having one on one meetings made me feel so much more comfortable, she gives you as much time as you need, always available for any support and advice. The course is brilliant, learnt so much information ready to start my journey being an Implant nurse. Feel like I've come away with so much information not just in this field but to help me in my day to day role in my practice. Would definitely recommend this course.

BB, Introduction to Implant Dental Nursing- Individual CPD

I love the course. Give so much self esteem. Its very easy and the tutorial have all info for you to do your work. The best is the teacher Edita how makes the lessons so easy and fun. I always looking forward for new lesson the learn new thinks.

Rasa, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

I have just completed the advanced dental practice management skills S3 and I have learned so much from the course. It has given me the tools and knowledge to put what I have learned in daily practice. It's given me the confidence and empowerment to put my new found skills into action. The student portal is very east to navigate and the ongoing support from Glenys has been fantastic and never felt under any pressure as you are able to go at your own pace. To have a formal practice management qualification is a great feeling. Many thanks Glenys.

Claire Maloney, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

I have learned so much form completing this course. I am able to put all aspects into daily practice and the improvements made have been very beneficial both to myself and my employer. I was very fortunate to be under the wing of Glenys who supported me through both my professional and personal life. The amount of encouragement I received has truly made a long lasting impression on me. I have developed as a person as well as a leader for my team. I cant recommend Glenys and the course highly enough and I think it should be a necessity for all CQC registered Managers to complete. This course has encouraged me to develop me knowledge and career much much further and I cant wait to see what results I get! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.

Sammi Coidan, Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

This course is very informative it gets you thinking of how to deal with complex situations. i am thoroughly enjoying this course and it has been challenging at times but Glenys has dealt with how I understand the concept of management

DL, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

Fantastic well structured course. It made clinical governance and auditing process so much more simpler to carry out.

Nirav Thakker, Team Development- Getting it Right- Clinical Governance and Audit

The first steps in Implant Dental Nursing course has given me all the basic knowledge I require to start Implant nursing.Emma has been an amazing tutor and has given me so many tips and advice. The course has really helped me with understand what I can and can’t do when I have donned and sterile. It has also taught me the terminology I need and how I can track the patients progress which I stered using in practice straight away. Brilliant course and would recommend it to anyone starting out with Implants

Hannah Berwick, First Steps in Implant Dental Nursing

I found this course extremely helpful in explaining how I as a dental nurse can help to assist the dentists and the patient during a rubber dam procedure. I am interested in completing further training in placing rubber dam myself, especially with the current circumstances p.

Hannah Berwick , Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

It helped me understand why a rubber dam is used

Ss, Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

I really enjoyed learning what it takes to become a care coordinator and the skills needed. Emma was such a great help in developing my knowledge beyond my potential. I am really grateful that that I had her as a tutor as she made me gain further understanding of how this role should be applied in practice. I am looking forward to put this new qualification to use and I hope to pick up more qualifications from this platform :)

Sarah Nsiah- Amoakoh, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

I found this implant dental nursing ECPD course extremely useful. I am the lead dental nurse at my practice and we are in the process of our new implantologist starting. I knew nothing about implant nursing before this course but now I know terminology, the difference between a sterilised nurse and a non sterilised nurse, the correct way to set up the surgery and so much more. This has given me the basic knowledge I require to assist our implantologist.

Hannah Berwick, Introduction to Implant Dental Nursing- Individual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

I recently completed the Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses S-1. I have 20 years experience of working as a dental nurse and stepped into the role of a lead nurse a few years ago. Although I am a very experienced nurse I initially found stepping into this role a bit tough as I wasn't used to managing others and didn't like asking the other nurses to do things. I would actually do them by myself rather than ask. Throughout this course I learnt that it is important to allocate and delegate tasks to the other nurses.This gives me time to do other tasks I have to do and also makes the other nurses role more enjoyable as they are being given the opportunity to do something different. I had Edita as my tutor and she was fantastic. She was very upbeat and passionate when we had our tutorials each week. Her passion also made me feel motivated. This course and Editas support made me believe in myself. I would highly recommend and look forward to doing further training with Glenys Bridges in the future. The best part of this course for me was gaining my Certificate of Acheivement.

Lisa Clark, Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses -S 1

I have been a member of the Glenys Bridges team for over a two and a half years, and have been treated with respect and care ever since. Glenys is very professional, enlightening and insightful to individual student needs. My tutoring sessions with her are really amazing and transformative for me, and she helped me to progress from a Lead dental nurse to Practice Manager. I was going through a rough time and I wasn't sure I would make it, but she showed me that I am important and helped me get through the tough time. Thank you for the past few years, I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and I feel it has been a valuable experience. I have already recommended your services and will continue to do so!

Patrycja Galonzka , Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

I've just completed my Course in High skills in Dental Care Coordination and I honestly couldn't recommend Glenys Bridges enough. Had continuous support from Edita my tutor throughout the Course to help me achieve it! The webiste is simple and easy to use to upload work. I have gained great knowledge on Care Coordination and I am very happy I did my course with Glenys Bridges! Highly Recommend

Zoe , Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

This course was a great course to complete alongside my working week. I was able to complete studies at my own pace and receive support from tutors whenever needed. The high point of this course was learning how to performance manage and support my staff effectively to ensure they develop fully in their career. This also means that the business get the best out of their staff. I have benefited hugely from this course as it has given me the confidence to manage my practice effectively and provided me with the knowledge to apply to my work. The tutor support with Gleny's Bridges is second to none. I was able to receive support and advice whenever needed. I would definitely recommend them as a course provider.

Amy Littler , Higher Dental Practice Management - Level 4

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