Report Date


Case Against

A Dental Practice in the area of Swansea Bay University Health Board


Clinical treatment outside hospital; Dentist

Case Reference Number



Not Upheld

We investigated complaints made by Mr A about his treatment by his Dental Practice. These consisted of whether the decision to remove a tooth was appropriate given the information known at the time, if Mr A should have been referred to a consultant earlier, and if the decision made not to treat Mr A owing to him being a high-risk patient, was appropriate and in line with relevant guidance. After the investigation had started, Mr A contacted the Ombudsman to state that he had since gone back to the Practice to ask for treatment but was refused because he had made a complaint. The Ombudsman therefore used her own initiative powers to expand the investigation and include 2 further heads of complaint. These considered whether it was reasonable for the Practice to refuse Mr A treatment because of the complaint he had referred to the Ombudsman, and, whether, in determining that future treatment be refused to Mr A, the Practice had failed to inform him appropriately of its decision.

The investigation found that although some communication around Mr A’s treatment and changes to dental contracts could perhaps, have been explained better, ultimately Mr A’s dental treatment was appropriate for his presenting symptoms and in-line with relevant guidance. Therefore, these elements of his complaint were not upheld. However, the investigation found that the subsequent decision to refuse to see Mr A as a patient after he had made a complaint, and the way this was communicated to him was not in-line with relevant complaint handling standards, which was an injustice to him. These aspects of the complaint were therefore upheld.

The Ombudsman therefore recommended that the Practice should apologise to Mr A for the failings identified and offer him £500 in recognition of the injustice caused to him. She also recommended that it should review its complaint handling practices to ensure that they are in-line with relevant Regulations and “Putting Things Right”, and invite the Health Board to undertake an audit of those patients that the Practice has removed from its NHS list of patients, to ensure that those patients’ removal has been undertaken in accordance with the relevant regulations and guidelines.

January 2024