Dental Complaints Service maintains strong performance in challenging year


The Dental Complaints Service (DCS), which provides free and impartial private dental care complaints resolution, published its 2020 performance report today which revealed 98% of enquiries were responded to within two days – a four percent improvement on the previous year and highest level on record.

The high performance came in a challenging year due to COVID-19 complications and when total complaint numbers (3,159) topped those received in each of the previous five years.

Other notable findings in the report include:

  • The most common issues raised related to perceived failure of treatment (85%). Within that, the type of treatment that attracted most complaints related to removable orthodontic appliances, reflecting a rise in the number of patients seeking remote orthodontics.
  • A number of complaints relating to COVID-19 were received. These included not being informed in advance of charges for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), a lack of NHS appointment availability or no NHS PPE and, as a result, being encouraged to go private or wait longer for an NHS appointment.
  • The number of fitness to practise referrals from the DCS fell to 36 in 2020, 24 of which related to just three dental professionals.
  • 600 complaints were received in relation to the collapse of one dental corporate, which closed its doors leaving many patients who had paid in advance out of pocket. The DCS continues to work with stakeholders around the challenges presented by some corporate structures.

Head of DCS Operations, Michelle Williams said:

“For many people, 2020 represents the most challenging year in living memory and I would like to thank all those we have worked with - the dental professionals, the stakeholder organisations and - most of all - the DCS team for their hard work and resilience in the face of such adversity. This report provides useful information for everyone involved in the provision of dental services, but particularly so for dental professionals as there are useful insights for consideration in everyday practice.”

The full report can be accessed by visiting the DCS website.


Notes to Editor

The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) is the free and impartial private dental care complaints resolution service, funded by the General Dental Council. It was created in 2006 to help patients to resolve complaints about private dental treatment. For more information visit

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the UK-wide statutory regulator of just over 113,000 members of the dental team, including approximately 42,000 dentists and 71,000 dental care professionals. Our primary purpose is to protect patient safety and maintain public confidence in dental services. To achieve this, we register qualified dental professionals, set standards of dental practice, investigate complaints about dental professionals' fitness to practise, and work to ensure the quality of dental education. The Dentists Act 1984 provides the legislative framework for our work. For more information visit


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