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Practice Complaints Procedure

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At Lewes High Street Dental Practice we take complaints very seriously indeed and try to ensure that all patients are pleased with their experience of our service.  When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible.  This procedure is based on these objectives.

Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled.  We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to patients concerns in a caring and sensitive way.

The key aspects of this policy are that:

Information for patients

At Lewes High Street Dental Practice we believe that if a patient wishes to make a complaint or register a concern about any aspect of our service, they should find it easy to do so. Our code of practice for handling complaints, encourages patients to let us know when our service has not met their expectations and explains how we will investigate their complaint and keep them informed. Patients complaint procedure is on display in the waiting room and available to download on our website.

Our approach to complaints

A complaint can be made by a patient of the practice or a person acting on their behalf if the patient is a child, has physical or mental incapacity, has consented to the person acting on their behalf, or has delegated authority to act on their behalf.  A complaint can also be made by an individual who is, or is likely to be, affected by our actions, inactions, decisions or omissions.

A complaint provides us with the opportunity to identify where our practice systems have failed and what we can do to improve our service. In dealing with a complaint, we will

Practice complaints process

Handling a complaint efficiently and sympathetically from the outset may encourage early resolution and avoid the need for a formal complaint process, involving investigation and formal reports which is stressful and time-consuming for all concerned.

When making a complaint, an individual usually wants an apology and to know what happened and why, what will be done to put it right, what action will be taken immediately and to prevent the cause for complaint happening again.

Receiving Complaints

All members of the team must be able to receive a complaint or feedback (verbal or written) and deal with it appropriately. You should bear in mind, that the individual making the complaint may not refer to their concern as a complaint.

The practice manager, Emily Ashdown, is responsible for dealing with all complaints received by the practice, unless immediate resolution is possible. The responsible person in charge of overseeing the complaints procedure and implementing changes where necessary is Steven Kell (practice owner).

If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.

Verbal complaints: Listen to what the individual is saying and be polite and considerate; avoid justifying the action that led to the complaint or being dismissive of the individual’s concerns. Where possible and, depending on the nature of the complaint, you should aim to resolve the matter as soon as it is received, making a note of the complaint and how you resolved it and pass the information to Emily Ashdown.

If you are unable to resolve the complaint immediately, you should encourage the individual to speak with Emily Ashdown – either via email or directly. If Emily Ashdown is not available, you should take brief details of the complaint and arrange a convenient time for Emily to contact the individual. Your notes should be passed to Emily and a copy given to the patient, together with a copy of the practice’s complaints procedure.

If the complaint requires an urgent response and the Complaints Manager is not available, you should pass the complaint to Steven Kell.

Written complaints: If a written complaint (by letter or email) is received, it is passed immediately to Emily Ashdown.


Emily Ashdown (practice manager) will acknowledge the complaint in writing within three working days and enclose a copy of our complaints procedure. If a delay in acknowledging the complaint is anticipated, the reason for the delay will be explained to the individual.

The acknowledgement will include


The purpose of the investigation is to

We aim for the investigation to be completed and for the individual to receive the report promptly ideally within 10 working days or if the issue is complex – within 6 months. Where we anticipate a delay, we will explain this to the individual and provide an update on progress at least every 10 working days.


Before providing a written response, we will invite the individual to a meeting to discuss the findings of our investigation.

Our written response to the individual will


Emily Ashdown (practice manager) keeps full records of all complaints, investigations and responses. These records are kept securely and not with the individual’s clinical records (if they are a patient of the practice).  These records include:

Learning from complaints

We adopt a no-blame approach to complaints that we receive but recognise that all feedback provides an opportunity for us to develop and improve our service.

As soon as possible after a complaint has been dealt with, we will ensure that those involved are given individual feedback. Where our investigations identify a need to improve or review our practice systems, we will encourage a discussion at the next practice meeting and seek suggestions for improvement. Any agreed changes will be kept under review.

We will undertake ongoing monitoring of all complaints to identify trends and assess training requirements.

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