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Dental Complaints Resolution Service Annual Report 2017

(30 Aug 2018)

Dental Complaints Resolution Service handled 128 complaints in 2017

Service resolves at least 55% of complaints

Thursday 30th August 2018.  The Dental Complaints Resolution Service has issued its sixth annual report in which it gives details of the 128 complaints it dealt with in 2017.

Click here to view the full report

The DCRS said 71 of the complaints it received had been resolved giving a resolution rate of 55%.

However, it’s believed the overall resolution figure is much higher as the DCRS is not always informed by the parties involved when a dispute is resolved directly by the patient and dentist where the complaint is referred back by the Service for both parties to try to reach agreement directly.

The biggest group of complaints – 56 – related to clinical issues, while 14 related to fees and four to communication issues.

The DCRS is a voluntary service which offers an independent and free mediator service to patients who have complaints about their dentists. The initiative is supported by the Irish Dental Association but operates independently of it. It is free of charge to IDA dentists and their patients.

Last year the Service received 520 phone calls and 1,120 letters/emails which was a slight increase on 2016. Over two million Irish people visit their dentist every year.

Michael Kilcoyne, the Facilitator of the DCRS, said it was encouraging to see more dentists and patients resolving complaints between themselves.

“Over the last six years we have handled over 750 complaints, with a typical resolution rate of 55%. In that time, we have built up valuable experience and put systems in place which are ideal for mediating in disputes between patients and dentists.”

“Last year there was a noticeable increase in the amount of complaints concerning work done under the medical card and PRSI schemes, which the Service cannot accept. Complaints about work done under these schemes must be referred to the HSE.”

In most cases the resolution involved a refund of fees, an apology, retreatment at no extra cost or payment of fees for remedial treatment. The Service employs the help of clinical adviser, Dr Maurice Fitzgerald, to help adjudicate on dentally complex cases.

Michael Kilcoyne said that the great benefit of the service for both dentists and patients is that it offers big saving in terms of the time, cost and stress associated with alternatives.

“At a time when Mr Justice Charles Meenan is examining alternative dispute resolution options including a redress scheme that avoids a court process for women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy - the DCRS may offer a template worth considering” he concluded.

For further information on the DCRS go to www.dentalcomplaints.ie