Tariq Drabu Communication Affairs

Tariq Drabu says “Last week the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) announced that complaints about private dental treatment rose by 17% in the year to April 2012. The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) is a service for private dental patients, set up by the General Dental Council (GDC) separate from the NHS complaints procedures. This is a disappointing state of affairs.”

Tariq Drabu continues “I was surprised to note that the DCS received more than 1800 complaints in in the year to April 2012. That is around 150 per month. I was disappointed to learn that the DCS highlighted that the most frequent complaints by patients related to not being made aware of the likely outcome of treatment or not being offered alternative treatment options. It was also disappointing to see that in some cases patients were given unclear information and felt ignored when concerns were raised. That is a sad state of affairs. Quite a few failures of communication do not always concern the dental treatment provided, but instead are quite often to do with the systems and procedures set in pace within the practice, whether that is communication or complaints handling. The most important and critical item in communication is managing patient expectations and giving patients information in a format that they can easily understand and can relate to. Patients need to know what treatment they are having, what, if any, alternatives there are and also whether the treatment is being undertaken privately or on the NHS. They also need to know the risks and benefits of treatment and also what the outcome is likely to be if they do not agree to proceed with the proposed treatment.”

Tariq Drabu concludes “I hope that these figures serve as a warning to colleagues that patient concerns and complaints are vitally important and must not be ignored. These latest set of figures represent a disappointing set of affairs and the profession as a whole must improve.”

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