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Complaints policy & procedure

Our aim

The Dulwich Orthodontic Centre is committed to providing a quality service for its patients and working in an open and accountable way that builds the trust and respect. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our patients, customers and staff, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a complaint is as easy as possible;
  • we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response;
  • we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially;
  • we respond in the right way - for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc;
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures.

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly. Our aims are to:

  • resolve informal concerns quickly;
  • keep matters low-key;
  • enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred.

An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.


Definition: DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE defines a complaint as 'any expression of dissatisfaction with DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE, or with a member of staff that relates to DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE and that requires a formal response'.

Purpose: The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently, swiftly and resolved the complaint satisfactorily.

Dulwich Orthodontic Centre’s responsibility is to:

  • acknowledge the formal complaint in writing;
  • respond within a stated period of time;
  • deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint;
  • take action where appropriate.

A complainant's responsibility is to:

  • bring their complaint, in writing, to DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE's attention normally within 8 weeks of the issue arising;
  • raise concerns promptly and directly with a member of staff in DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE;
  • explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date;
  • allow DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE a reasonable time to deal with the matter;
  • recognise that some circumstances may be beyond DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE's control.

Responsibility for Action

If you wish to bring any matter to our attention, please contact our Patient Relations Team which comprises of Diana Harte our Front Desk Administrator or Mena Williams, the Practice Co-ordinator.

Confidentiality: Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and DULWICH ORTHODONTIC CENTRE maintain confidentiality. However the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own merit). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.

Monitoring and Reporting: The PCT will receive an annual report of complaints made and their resolution.

Formal Complaints Procedure

Stage 1

In the first instance, if you are unable to resolve the issue informally, you should write to the Co-ordinator of the member of staff who dealt with you, so that he or she has a chance to put things right. In your letter you should set out the details of your complaint, the consequences for you as a result, and the remedy you are seeking.

You can expect your complaint to be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt. You should get a response and an explanation as soon as possible. If you are unsure which member of Dulwich Orthodontic Centre staff to write to, your complaint should be sent to the Practice Co-ordinator.

Our contact details can be found on the Contact Us part of our website.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the initial response to the complaint then you can write to Practice Co-ordinator and ask for your complaint and the response to be reviewed. The Practice Co-ordinator to respond to your complaints within 3 working days of receipt and a response within 28 days.

Dulwich Orthodontics aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible. However, some issues may be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. Consequently timescales given for handling and responding to complaints are indicative. If a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.

Final Stage

If you are not satisfied with the subsequent reply, you may contact the Health Service Ombudsman within 12 months.

You can obtain help from PALS or ICAS via the PCT.


from Dulwich Orthodontics