Complaints down but success rate goes up
DIY dentistry and dental tourism show increase but main issues for complaints service still revolve around fees
There has been a worrying rise in complaints surrounding DIY orthodontics, according to the latest annual report from the Dental Complaints Resolution Service (DCRS).
The publication also highlights an increase in “dental tourists” going abroad for treatment according to Michael Kilcoyne, facilitator of the DCRS. He said: “We wouldn’t recommend that people get ‘cheap’ work done overseas as patients are left with absolutely no recourse if something goes wrong. Similarly, we would advise people to steer clear of websites that send people aligners in the post after they use an at-home ‘evaluation kit’ and which they claim people can then fit themselves. This is very worrying and the DCRS has already seen one case relating to these kits.”
The fifth annual report of the DCRS showed that the service handled ı02 complaints in 20ı6, a decrease on 20ı5, which saw ı34, and 20ı4 with ı58. Michael said: “The drop to ı02 last year is welcome and may well reflect a trend towards greater engagement between dentists and patients. Complaints regarding non-display of fees in reception areas and dentists charging higher prices than those shown on the practices website have increased. It is important that pricing is displayed and that the prices are kept up to date.”
He also reported that the service is now solving more cases than ever. He said: “The service is now building on the experience of the last five years and is solving a higher percentage of cases than before. In 20ı5 we resolved 33 per cent of the ı34 complaints during the year, but last year the figure rose to 57 per cent.
“Communication between dentists and patients is the most effective tool available for complaints resolution and we always insist that the parties engage with one another first and try to resolve the issue without outside intervention.”
The main areas of complaints were fees with 23 complaints and clinical issues (22), followed by communication with ı3 cases. In most cases the resolution involved a refund of fees, retreatment or remedial treatment elsewhere.