Raising a concern
Raising a concern
professional listening to a patient and writing notes

Raising a concern

If you are unhappy with your experience for any reason, you can raise a c​oncern 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 Investigating Committee. It can take up to 6 months for a complaint to be assessed and considered by the Investigating Committee.
  • Stage Three - Investigating Committee: The Investigating Committee is an independent committee that will decide whether to close a case or refer it to a Practice Committee for a full hearing.
  • Stage Four- Practice Committee: A complaint can be referred by the Investigating Committee to one of the GDC’s three Practice Committees (Conduct, Performance or Health). Once a complaint has been referred to a Practice Committee by the Investigating Committee, 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. 

Further information:

How to report a dental professional explains our process in more detail and the types of concern we can investigate.