Raising a concern
If you are unhappy with your experience for any reason, you can raise a concern or make a complaint. There are different ways of doing this which depend on issues such as whether your care was provided under the NHS or privately.
Who can help?
We are one of a number of organisations which may be able to help if you are unsatisfied with the treatment, behaviour or service you have received from a registered dental professional.
Find out who can help
What can the GDC help with?
We investigate serious allegations about dentists and dental professionals including:
Serious or repeated mistakes in clinical care, for example mistakes in diagnosis or dental procedures
Failure to examine a patient properly, to secure a patient’s informed consent before treatment, or to respond reasonably to a patient's needs
Not having professional indemnity insurance
Cross infection issues (for example, using dirty clinical equipment in the course of treatment)
Serious breaches of a patient's confidentiality
A serious criminal offence
Fraud, theft or dishonesty by a dentist or dental care professional
What the GDC can't help with
We are unable to help with:
Providing general legal advice in relation to dental treatment you may have received
Providing clinical advice, for example, whether you should seek a second opinion
Requiring a dental professional to provide you with the treatment you want
Requiring your dentist to send you your dental records
Intervening in a complaint being managed locally by the dentist's employer under their local complaints procedure
Securing an apology or compensation for you for poor treatment or helping you claim compensation
Handling complaints about healthcare professionals who are not dentists or dental care professionals
Giving you a detailed explanation of what happened to you – this can only come from the dental practitioner or the dental organisation
Timescales you can expect
As part of the Fitness to Practise process you can expect the following.
Stage One - Triage: Triage is the first step in our process where cases are screened to see if they meet the test for investigation. This team aims to provide faster and more consistent triage of new referrals. It can take up to 10 working days for a new matter to be processed by our Triage Team.
Stage Two - Assessment: If a case is referred by our Triage team for investigation, the complaint will be further investigated and a decision will be made to either close the case or refer it to the - Assessment: If a case is referred by our Triage team for investigation, the complaint will be further investigated and a decision will be made to either close the case or refer it to the Case Examiners. It can take up to 6 months for a complaint to be assessed and considered by the Case Examiners.
Stage Three - Case Examiners: Case Examiners are appointed GDC staff members with a statutory duty to make decisions at the conclusion of the initial investigation. Each case is considered by a pair of Case Examiners who decide whether to close a case, agree undertakings with the registrant or refer it to a Practice Committee for a full hearing.
- Practice Committee: A complaint can be referred by the Case Examiners to one of the GDC’s three Practice Committees (Conduct
). Once a complaint has been referred to a Practice Committee by the Case Examiners, it can be up to 9 months before the matter is fully considered and concluded.
The time taken for an investigation to be completed and presented before one of the Practice Committees can therefore be 15 months, in total.
Interim Orders Committee
: A case may be referred to the Interim Orders Committee
at any stage; these can be fast tracked because of the need to protect the interests of the patient(s), the registrant or any other wider public interest.
This Fitness to Practise process map details an overall view of the process, including the expected timeframes.