Complaints Procedure

Feedback, Concerns, Comments and Complaints Policy

At Slateford Dental Care our aim is to give the best possible care and treatment to our patients. We welcome feedback and comments about our services and aim to deal with any concerns or complaints promptly, courteously and efficiently. We consider all feedback, comments, concerns and complaints as a positive way of looking at what we do and making changes to improve our service to patients. All views will be taken seriously and our procedures are in line with the NHS Scotland Complaints Procedure.

Responsibilities

The practice Feedback and Complaints Officer is Robert King, Tel. No: 0131 337 2689 email: robertking@slateforddentalcare.com. Mr King is responsible for the management and handling of feedback, comments, concerns and complaints and for seeing complaints through to resolution.

Alternatively, contact our Feedback and Complaints Organisation: The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Tel. No: 0800 377 7330.

Feedback, Comments and Concerns

We want you to let us know if something is important to you, such as:

• What you think about the care and treatment you have received;
• What we have done well;
• Whether you have any concerns, e.g. about your appointment times or the facilities at the practice;
• If you have any suggestions to help us improve things;
• If you don’t understand something and need more information about our services.

You can tell us by:

• Talking to any member of staff;
• Filling in our patient survey or questionnaire
• Putting your comments in our suggestion box
• Telling the Patient Advice and Support Service (see under Contacts)
• Giving feedback online e.g. on the practice website
• Contacting the local NHS Board (see under Contacts).

We will use the information you give us to improve the services we provide.

Complaints about NHS treatment

You can make a complaint about:

• NHS care or treatment you have had or are having at the practice;
• Our services or facilities;
• A member of staff;
• How services in the local area are organised, if this has affected your care or treatment.

You cannot use this complaints procedure:

• If you are taking legal action about the issue you want to complain about.

Time limits:

Normally, you must make your complaint:

• Within 6 months of the event you want to complain about, but no longer than 12 months after the event, or
• Within 6 months of discovering you have a reason to complain.

How to make a complaint:

• You can complain in person, by phone, online or in writing. Please note that if you email other people may be able to see your personal information.
• If you can, please first talk to a member of staff involved with your care. We will try to sort out the complaint on the spot.
• If you are unable to talk to the member of staff involved with your care, ask to speak to Robert King, our Feedback and Complaints Officer.
• If you don’t want to complain to anyone in the practice, you can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, who is our Feedback and Complaints Organisation, or the Patient

Advice and Support Service (see under Contacts) for advice.

• When making your complaint, please give:

– Your full name and address (and the patient’s name if you are acting on behalf of someone else)
– As much helpful information as possible about what happened, where it happened and when, and what you would like to have done about it
– Your preferred method of communication
– Consent from the patient, if you are making the complaint on behalf of the patient.

What we will do:

• We will try to resolve the complaint on the spot.
• If we cannot do this, we will write out to you within 3 working days. In this letter we will:

– Tell you what action we will take to look into your complaint
– Offer you the chance to talk to a member of staff
– Let you know when we will respond (normally within 20 working days)
– Give you information about advice and support available to help you with your complaint, e.g. the Patient Advice and Support Service.

• We will keep information about your complaint confidential. We may have to talk to other NHS Staff or show them your dental records. If you do not want us to share information about you dental records, please tell us when you make your complaint, but bear in mind this may make it more difficult to look into your complaint.
• We will keep a record of your details and the complaint and use it to help improve our services, and for statistical purposes.

Our response:

• We will investigate your complaint and write to you with a full response within 20 working days of receiving your complaint. If we are unable to keep to this timescale we will let you know and tell you why.
• Our response will let you know the result of the investigation. We will:

– Show that we have looked into your complaint and reply to all the points you have raised
– Offer an apology if things have gone wrong
– Explain what we will do to prevent what you have complained about happening again
– If necessary, explain why we cannot do anything more about some parts of your complaint
– Offer you the chance to talk to a member of staff if there is anything in the letter you do not understand
– Include information about the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in case you are unhappy with our response or the way in which we have handled your complaint, and wish to take things further

Complaining on someone’s behalf

You can complain for someone else if you:

• Have their consent to complain – we may require this in writing
• Are a parent, guardian or main carer of a child and your 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 you have the power to make a complaint about healthcare
• Are a relative of, or had a relationship with, a patient who has died and you are concerned about how they were treated before they died; or
• Are acting as an advocate for the patient.

Complaints about private treatment

We follow the same complaints procedure for complaints about private treatment. However, if you require help to make your complaint, or if you are not satisfied with our response to your 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).
If you change your mind after making a complaint

You can change your mind about making a complaint at any time. Please let us know as soon as possible. It would be helpful if you could write or e-mail and tell us, but otherwise a phone call will do.

Help with your complaint

Patient Advice and Support Service

If you would like to speak to someone for independent advice about your rights and responsibilities when using NHS services, including help to make a complaint, please contact your local Patient Advice and Support Service which is available through your local Citizens Advice Scotland bureau (CAS). To find your local CAS office, go to www.cas.org.uk/bureaux and enter your postcode.

Advocacy

If you want someone to help you express your views, you can ask for an advocate. An advocate is independent of the NHS and can help make sure your views are heard and get access to the information you need to make your own decisions. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman can tell you more about advocacy services available.

Mediation (also known as Alternative Dispute Resolution):

• Mediation means bringing people together to resolve a complaint
• An independent mediator will try to help you and us to agree what should happen if we cannot settle the complaint ourselves;
• Mediation can only be used if we both agree to it.

Information about mediation

• The Feedback and Complaints Officer at the practice or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman can tell you more about mediation services.
If you are not happy with our response to your complaint
If you are still not happy with our response, or if you are not happy with the way we are dealing with your complaint, e.g. if you think we are taking too long, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to consider your complaint further.
• The SPSO cannot normally look at complaints more than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you wish to complain about. (Sometimes this time limit will not apply – contact the SPSO for more information)
• The SPSO cannot look at matters that have been or are being considered in court
• The SPSO does not take up all cases and will decide whether or not to investigate your complaint further.

Contacts

General Dental Services (for complaints about private treatment)
Dental Complaints Service
Stephenson House
2 Cherry Orchard Road
Croydon
CRO 6BA
Tel. No. 08456 120 540 at local rate (Mon-Fri, 9.00am – 5.00pm)
info@dentalcomplaints.org.uk
https://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/YourRights/ComplimentsConcernsComplaints/Pages/default.aspx

NHS Inform
Helpline 0800 22 44 88 (textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88) www.nhsinform.co.uk; the Looking Local iPhone app; NHSScotland’s Digital TV Service (Sky and Virgin Media).

Patient Advice and Support Service
www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk
This service is available through your local Citizens Advice Scotland Bureau (CAS). You will be able to find out where your local CAS office is on the website by entering your postcode.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
4 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7NS

Tel. No. 0800 377 7330
Freepost SPSO (you don’t need a stamp)
Online contact: www.spso.org.uk/contact-us
Website: www.spso.org.uk
Mobile site: http://m.spso.org.uk

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