Clinical treatment outside hospital; Dentist
A Dental Practice in the area of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Mr A complained to the Health Board about the service provided at his local branch of Dental Practice after experiencing multiple appointment cancellations at short or no notice. Mr A said that the Health Board failed to ensure that the Dental Practice addressed the issues raised in his complaint about access to services. He was then unreasonably removed as a patient from the Dental Practice list, along with his wife, because he had complained.
The investigation identified that the Health Board failed to ensure that the Dental Practice responded to Mr A’s concerns about access to services in accordance with the NHS Complaints Procedure. Although the Health Board tried to resolve the complaint by arranging check-ups for Mr & Mrs A, it did not hand the complaint to the Dental Practice to investigate and respond when those appointments were subsequently cancelled. Consequently, there was a missed opportunity for the Dental Practice to learn from Mr A’s complaint and his family’s poor experience of waiting for care. The Health Board also gave a false expectation that it would help Mr & Mrs A to find a new dentist when they were removed from the Dental Practice list, although this was not a service it provided.
The Dental Practice failed to follow professional guidelines and its own policy when making the decision to remove Mr & Mrs A from the patient list at the Dental Practice. There was a lack of evidence to support the reasons given for the decision to remove Mr & Mrs A and a failure to warn them before services were withdrawn.
To settle the complaint, the Dental Practice and the Health Board agreed to apologise and each pay financial redress of £250 to Mr & Mrs A in recognition of the failings and the unnecessary time, trouble and upset caused. Both organisations also agreed to share the findings with the appropriate staff to ensure the learning from the complaint. In addition, the Dental Practice agreed to offer the family the opportunity to register as patients at a different dental practice and to draw up a plan of action to stop the failings identified from happening again.