Complaints and confidence – the GDC provides an insight into views on regulation

15 February 2013

Complaints and confidence – the GDC provides an insight into views on regulation

A survey of more than 1,600 people across the UK has revealed how few patients think about complaining about their dental professionals.

The 2012 General Dental Council Annual Patient and Public Survey can be read in full here.

Very few (2%) of those who say they have visited a dentist say they have complained or even considered making a formal complaint about a dental professional during the last 12 months. Specifically, 95% say they had never complained and 93% of these say they have never considered complaining.

Who do people complain to?

When people complain, or consider making a complaint, they tend to complain or want to complain directly to the practice where they had the treatment. More than a third (37%) approached or would approach their dental practice to make a complaint.

However, 32% of those who’d complained, or considered making a complaint, weren’t sure who to complain to. The survey also asked those who had considered making a complaint, what prevented them from doing so. 29% said they did not know where to start and a further 26% said they didn’t know who or where to go to for information on how to complain.

The GDC is committed to letting people know who they need to complain to.

Information on the best route to take can be found on the GDC website here.

Confidence in dental regulation

The survey has revealed a high level of confidence in the GDC’s regulation of dental professionals.

Around eight out of ten respondents (78%) who have heard of, or think that they have heard of, the GDC are confident that it’s regulating dental professionals effectively. In addition 80% are confident that dental professionals follow the GDC’s rules.

The research findings are now being used to help improve the GDC’s performance.



Notes to editors:


• The GDC Annual Patient and Public Survey was a representative opinion survey carried out by Ipsos MORI of people aged 15 years and over;

• Fieldwork took place between 31 August and 17 September 2012. A total of 1,509 adults (aged over 15) were interviewed face-to-face using Ipsos MORI’s Capibus omnibus survey in Great Britain (including a boost in Wales) with data weighted back to be nationally representative;

• An additional 100 interviews were carried out in Northern Ireland;

• A total of 602 respondents said they had definitely heard of, or think they have heard of, the GDC;

• A total of 1,464 respondents said they had visited a dentist at some point;

• A total of 116 respondents had complained or considered complaining about a dental professional;

• Full details of the survey methodology are contained in Appendix 1 of the report; 

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