Michelle Williams, Head of DCS Operations, provides an overview of some of the key achievements identified within the recently published Dental Complaints Service Review 2015–18.
I am very happy to provide such a positive picture in terms of how the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) has helped patients resolve complaints about private dental treatment, as is highlighted in the recently published DCS Review 2015–18.
The report shows that the number of complaints we have received each year has fallen from 900 to 600, since the peak of our demand in 2009. Importantly, the number of FtP referrals that we have had to make to the GDC has also fallen from 352 in 2015 to just 57 in 2018. Clearly, the work that we have done to continue to improve the service that we offer is paying off and more complaints are now being resolved at an earlier stage, reinforcing the message that complaints can, and are, being resolved at a local level.
In 2017, we started a review into our operations to ensure that we continue to deliver best value, in terms of both cost and efficiency. This included moving our offices from Croydon to the GDC’s offices in Wimpole Street to cut operating costs and restructuring and improving our operations. This resulted in our cost base falling by 40%, whilst our service offering was expanded, and our service levels were maintained or improved.
The changes made have also had a positive impact on our key stakeholders, as is evident from the feedback we have received from organisations including the Dental Defence Union, British Dental Association and Dental Protection, as well as dental professionals and patients. These are included in the report and highlight the positive impact that the impartial service we provide has made in handling the resolution of complaints.
But this is not the end of the story. We recognise in a changing world of new treatments, provider funding options and the evolving regulatory environment, it is appropriate to review the role we play in the broader landscape. We are therefore undertaking a further review of the service, particularly in response to recent developments in complaint handling across the sector. This will consider the future nature of any service, funding requirements and mechanisms together with delivery models. We plan to publish recommendations for this in 2020.
I would like to thank the DCS team for their hard work and commitment, as well as the dental profession and the indemnifiers who engage with us to enable patients to raise their complaints and find a route to resolution. Without your co-operation our service could not succeed, leaving private patients with no impartial means of resolving their complaint when they are unable to resolve it with the dental professional themselves.
You can find the report on the DCS website here.