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Early contact ensures a cooler response

14 July 2014
Responding aggressively to a complaint is never a good idea. The sooner you contact Dental Protection, the better...

A patient complained about the appearance and comfort of an anterior bridge and wrote a letter of complaint to the dentist, who responded quite aggressively. The patient subsequently sent a letter to the dentist’s registration body and also contacted his lawyers.

The dentist’s approach to the complaint did little to enhance his image in the eyes of the committee that considered it. While the committee did not pursue the case, it sent a warning letter to the dentist concerning his approach to complaints handling.

Although the claim did not ultimately succeed, the anxiety and distress caused by the complaint, litigation process and the formal investigation was considerable. A more considered response may have avoided two of the enquiries – even though at the end of the day the dentist’s position was vindicated.

Once you have committed yourself in writing, the words and style you have used will become an inextricable part of any subsequent investigation of the patient’s complaint.

Learning point:
It is always wise to contact Dental Protection at an early stage and preferably before a response has been sent to the patient.
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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 members enjoy as part of their subscription. 
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