The Dental Complaints Service (the DCS) is within scope of the General Dental Council's (the GDC) privacy notice.
However, in the interest of transparency we outline in more detail below how the DCS uses, shares and stores your information.
The DCS collects, uses, and stores information for the purpose of facilitating a resolution of dental complaints and to ensure public protection.
Information we hold will include:
The information is stored in a Customer Records Management system and internal drives on the GDC's secure servers.
When people contact the DCS for assistance we set up an electronic case file on our customer records management system with their details, what they are complaining about, and details about the dental practitioner concerned.
The case is then assessed against the GDC's Fitness to Practise (FtP) criteria and will be referred to the GDC if these criteria are met. Before this happens, the reasons for referring the case are discussed with the patient who then decides if they would want to be part of the FtP process. Although we would prefer it if patients wanted to be part of GDC's FtP process, we are still able to refer cases to the GDC without the patient's consent.
If the case does not meet the GDC's FtP referral criteria, the case is progressed through the DCS's three-tiered process. The DCS assists the patient by providing advice which enables them to o contact the Dental Professional outlining their complaint and the outcome they would like. Information will not be shared with the Dental professional, their representatives, and/or the patients without consent to do so – consent can be revoked at any time.
DCS receive a copy of the complaint information and store this on their Customer Records Management system. Any paper copies received are securely stored until the case is resolved whereby the information in confidentially destroyed.
If the patient and Dental Professional are unable to reach an agreement through brokering, the final stage in the DCS process is the panel meeting. Copies of all correspondence between the parties, including any relevant dental records are provided to the panel members to ensure they have a clear understanding of the complaint. The meeting is informal and no minutes are taken. If an agreement between the parties cannot be reached, the panel make a recommendation to resolve the complaint. If the recommendation is not subsequently followed then the case may be referred to the GDC as an FtP matter. All DCS complaints information is retained for a period after the case is completed and then deleted.
Anonymised cased studies are developed from real life case examples to assist in learning and development of DCS staff.
Telephone calls to the DCS helpline are recorded for training and quality monitoring purposes.
Data extracted from and about the complaints the DCS receives will be used by the DCS to publish an annual report on its work and performance.
This information is also used by the DCS to promote good complaints handling.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are entitled to request a copy of the information an organisation holds about you.