Code of practice for handling patient complaints

We want our service to meet the expectations of our patients. If a patient has a concern or complaint about any aspect of our service, we want to know so that mistakes that we make can be minimised. This will help to improve our service to ensure that we meet our patient’s expectations in future. Our aim is to learn from any feedback we receive and improve the service we provide to our patients. 

We will deal with complaints courteously and promptly and aim to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. 

Making a complaint

If patients wish to make a complaint or simply let us know how we could have done better, please ask the patient to contact practice manager who is our complaints’ manager: 

• By telephone on 01480 466466

• By letter to practice manager, The Old Grammar School Dental Surgery, Ramsey Road, St. Ives, CAMB PE27 5BZ 

• By email

• In person.

The complaints’ manager usually works at the practice on Tuesday 9am-1pm and 2-5.15pm and will endeavour to be available during these times. You may find it more convenient to make an appointment with complaints’ manager to ensure that she can dedicate sufficient time to meet with you. 

If you contact the practice to make a complaint and the complaints’ manager is not available, we will arrange a convenient time for them to contact you. We will ask you for brief details of your complaint so that the complaints’ manager can gather any useful information before contacting you. You will be given a copy of the notes made for the complaints’ manager. 

If the matter requires a more immediate response, we will arrange for a senior member of the dental team to deal with it.

If your complaint is about your dental treatment or the fee charged, we will usually ask the dentist concerned to contact you, unless you do not want this.

We acknowledge all complaints in writing within three working days in England.

Investigating a complaint

We will offer to discuss the complaint with the patient and we will keep the patient informed of developments by letters. We will let the patient know how we will deal with their complaint and the likely time that the investigation will take to complete. If the patient does not wish to discuss the complaint further, we will still let them know the expected timescale for completing the investigation.

We will investigate a complaint within six months in England and, as far as reasonably practicable, will let the patient know how our investigation is progressing. 

When we have completed the investigation, we will provide the patient with a full written report, unless you have told us that you do not wish for further communication. The report will explain how we considered the complaint, the conclusions we reached for each part of your complaint, details of any remedial action we have taken and whether further action is needed. 


We keep proper and comprehensive records of any complaints that we receive and the action we have taken following investigation.  We review these records regularly to ensure that we recognise our mistakes and take every opportunity to improve our service.

If the patient is not satisfied

If the patient’s complaint was about dental treatment and the patient is not satisfied with the result of our investigation, they can take up the matter with a relevant external organisation.

For complaints about NHS treatment: 

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank London SW1P 4QP (0345 015 4033 

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, 1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed CF35 5LJ 
(0300 790 0203 ) 

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman, Freepost NIPSO, Belfast BT1 6HN 
(0800 343424 ).

For complaints about private treatment:

Dental Complaints Service, Stephenson House, 2 Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon CR0 6BA 
(020 8253 0800).