At TLW Solicitors, we appreciate that sometimes making a claim against a medical or dental professional is often a “last resort”
The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) was launched in 2006 to assist in the resolution of complaints between Patients and Dentists. It is used by both Patients and Dentists. The DCS can assist with private complaints which are raised within 12 months of the treatment, or within 12 months of becoming aware that there is something to complain about.
They may be able to assist if you are seeking an explanation or an apology for what has happened; a full or partial refund in relation to fees paid for failed treatment; remedial treatment from your Dentist (if both parties agree); or a contribution to the cost of the remedial treatment from a different Practitioner.
The DCS will contact your Dentist in the first instance to give them an opportunity to resolve the complaint. If you are not satisfied with the response, the DCS Complaints Officer will work with you and the Dentist to try and reach a satisfactory resolution.
If a resolution cannot be reached, the DCS will arrange a Panel Meeting to hear both sides of the complaint to try and reach a resolution. If an agreement still cannot be reached, recommendations will be made by the DCS to resolve the complaint.
Everyone who provides an NHS Service in England must have their own Complaints Procedure. You can complain to the NHS Provider directly or you can complain to the commissioner of services which can be found on the NHS England website.
Complaints should be made within 12 months of the treatment or within 12 months of becoming aware that there is something to complain about. The time limit can be extended but if only if there is good reason to do so and the complaint can still be investigated.
The NHS also offers an Advocacy Service if you need assistance to make your complaint.
The General Dental Council (GDC) is the regulatory body for Dentists and has information on their website as to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics that you should expect to receive when undergoing treatment.
The GDC tends to deal with the most serious concerns which are considered to have caused significant harm to patients; caused significant harm to colleagues or the general public; or has undermined public confidence in the dental profession (e.g. serious or repeated mistakes in patient care, criminal offences or convictions).
The above information will help you make a complaint about any substandard dental treatment you may have received. However, if you have lost out financially (time off work, prescriptions or paying for additional treatment to fix the problem) and/or you have suffered an injury as a result of sub-standard dental treatment, then to recover any compensation you will need to make a legal claim through specialist dental negligence solicitors.
A claim involving dental negligence must be brought within the relevant limitation period. This is usually 3 years from the date of the negligent treatment or when the patient knew or ought to reasonably have known that any injury was due to negligence. Other time limits may apply if the treatment was carried out on a child or protected party.
With dental cases, the relevant limitation period can sometimes be difficult to work out, particularly if the case relates to treatment over a long period of time. This time limit continues to run even if you are going through any of the above complaints processes.
If you wish to make a compensation claim it is important to get specialist advice from our Team to ensure that your claim is made within the relevant time period.
If you would like to find out more about making a complaint or wish to discuss the possibility of claiming compensation for dental negligence, get in touch with one of the specialist lawyers here at TLW Solicitors, by phone on 0800 169 5925, email or complete our callback form.