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Honesty is the best policy

15 July 2014
There is only one true version of events and presenting any other leaves you open to criticism or worse. Getting all the facts straight is always the best course of action.

A principal dentist received a complaint about one of his assistants who was away on leave. The complaint centred on the patient’s appointment being cancelled at short notice, which had left them with toothache overnight. 

The principal apologised and indicated that the appointment had been cancelled due to the illness of the assistant dental surgeon. Unfortunately, this was not correct. The assistant spoke to the patient independently and said that the reason for the cancelled appointment was a lack of staff in the clinic.

The patient was now confused and raised a further complaint. The assistant’s version of events turned out to be true, while the principal had acted in haste without seeking the views of the others involved and in so doing had made the situation worse.

Learning point:
When a complaint arises, consider the views of the others involved before making a definitive response. This should only be given after an assessment of all the relevant facts, circumstances and issues pertaining at the time.
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These case studies are based on real events and provided here as guidance. They do not constitute legal advice but are published to help members better understand how they might deal with certain situations. This is just one of the many benefits Dental Protection members enjoy as part of their subscription. 
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