Code of Practice for Patient Complaints
In this practice we take complaints very seriously and try to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This procedure is based on these objectives.
Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to customers’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
- The person responsible for dealing with any complaint about the service that we provide is Miss Pamela Murphy, our Complaints Manager.
- If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him or her to the Complaints Manager immediately. If the Complaints Manager is not available at the time, then the patient will be told when they will be able to talk to the dentist and arrangements will be made for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. If we cannot arrange this within a reasonable period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for someone else to deal with it.
- If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Complaints Manager.
- If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.
- We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within three working days.
- We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of receipt to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.
- We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.
- Proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received.
- If patients are not satisfied with the result of our procedure then a complaint may be made to:
- The Dental Complaints Service, The Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road, Croydon, Greater London, CR9 2ER. Telephone: 08456 120 540 www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk
- The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London. W1N 8DQ. Telephone: 0845 222 4141, the dentists’ regulatory body for complaints about professional misconduct
Data Protection Code
Data protection code of practice for patients
Keeping your records
- This practice complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and this policy describes our procedures for ensuring that personal information about patients is processed fairly and lawfully.
The personal data that we hold
- To provide you with a high standard of dental care and attention, we need to hold personal information about you. This personal data includes:
2.1 Your past and current medical and dental condition; personal details such as your age, National Insurance number/NHS number, address, telephone number, date of birth and your general medical practitioner
2.2 Radiographs, clinical photographs and study models
2.3 Information about the treatment that we have provided or propose to provide and its cost
2.4 Notes of conversations/incidents about your care, for which a record needs to be kept
2.5 Records of consent to treatment
2.6 Correspondence with other health care professionals relating to you, for example in the hospital or community services.
Reasons for holding this information
- We need to keep comprehensive and accurate personal data about our patients to provide them with safe and appropriate dental care.
How we process the data
- We will process personal data that we hold about you in the following way:
- We will retain your dental records while you are a practice patient and after you cease to be a patient, for at least eleven years or, for children, until age of 25, whichever is the longer.
Security of information
- Personal data about you is held in the practice’s computer system and/or in a manual filing system. The information is not accessible to the public; only authorised members of staff have access to it. Our computer system has secure audit trails and we back-up information routinely.
Disclosure of information
- To provide proper and safe dental care, we may need to disclose personal information about you to:
7.1 Your general medical practitioner
7.2 The hospital or community dental services
7.3 Other health professionals caring for you
7.4 HM Revenue and Customs
7.5 Private dental schemes of which you are a member.
- Disclosure will take place on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Only those individuals or organisations who need to know in order to provide care to you – or in order to ensure the proper administration of Government (whose personnel are covered by strict confidentiality rules) – will be given the information. Only the information that the recipient needs to know will be disclosed.
- In very limited circumstances or when required by law or a court order, personal data may be disclosed to a third party not connected with your health care. In all other situations, disclosure that is not covered by this Code of Practice will only occur when we have your specific consent.
- Where possible, you will be informed of these requests for disclosure.
- You have the right of access to the data that we hold about you and to receive a copy. Access may be obtained by making a request in writing and the payment of a fee of up to £10 (for records held on computer) or £25 (for those held manually, including non-digital radiographs). We will provide a copy of the record within 21 days of receipt of the request and fee (where payable) and an explanation of your record should you require it.
If you do not agree
- If you do not wish personal data that we hold about you to be disclosed or used in the way that is described in this Code of Practice, please discuss the matter with your dentist. You have the right to object, but this may affect our ability to provide you with dental care.
Data Security Policy
This Dental Practice is committed to ensuring the security of personal data held by the practice. This policy is issued to existing staff with access to personal data at the practice and will be given to new staff during induction. Should any staff have concerns about the security of personal data within the practice they should contact Dr Gurpreet Midha.
All members of the team must comply with this policy.
- All employment contracts and contracts for services contain a confidentiality clause, which includes a commitment to comply with the practice confidentiality policy.
2. Access to personal data is on a “need to know” basis only. Access to information is monitored and breaches of security will be dealt with swiftly by Dr Gurpreet Midha.
3. We have procedures in place to ensure that personal data is regularly reviewed, updated and deleted in a confidential manner when no longer required. For example, we keep patient records for at least 11 years or until the patient is aged 25 – whichever is the longer.
Physical security measures
- Personal data is only taken away from the practice premises in exceptional circumstances and when authorised by Dr Gurpreet Midha. If personal data is taken from the premises it must never be left unattended in a car or in a public place.
5. Records are kept in a lockable fireproof cabinet, which is not easily accessible by patients and visitors to the practice.
6. Efforts have been made to secure the practice against theft by, for example, the use of intruder alarms, lockable windows and doors.
7. The practice has in place a business continuity plan in case of a disaster. This includes procedures set out for protecting and restoring personal data.
Information held on computer
- Appropriate software controls are used to protect computerised records, for example the use of passwords and encryption. Passwords are only known to those who require access to the information, are changed on a regular basis and are not written down or kept near or on the computer for others to see.
9. Daily and weekly back-ups of computerised data are taken and stored in a fireproof container, off-site. Back-ups are also tested at prescribed intervals to ensure that the information being stored is usable should it be needed.
10. Staff using practice computers will undertake computer training to avoid unintentional deletion or corruption of information.
11. Dental computer systems all have a full audit trail facility preventing the erasure or overwriting of data. The system records details of any amendments made to data, who made them and when.
12. Precautions are taken to avoid loss of data through the introduction of computer viruses.