Managing Complaints from the RCDSO


Each dentist shudders after they give it some thought: You’re going by means of the mail on your follow and amidst unsolicited mail and payments, there’s an envelope with the Royal School of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) brand within the high left nook. It’s marked “PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.” You open it and are shocked to be taught that the RCDSO is investigating a grievance that has been made towards you.

How did this occur? What do you do subsequent? Our objective on this article is to reply these questions. Within the first half, we study why complaints occur and the right way to construction your follow to keep away from them. Within the second half, we focus on the perfect plan of action you possibly can take when, inevitably, you obtain that dreaded letter from the RCDSO.

Half 1: How did this occur?
A examine carried out by the RCDSO signifies that affected person complaints fall into three main classes:

  1. scientific care and therapy outcomes;
  2. relationships and conduct; and
  3. follow administration.

Analyzing every class gives insights about why sufferers complain, and the right way to stop complaints from occurring.

Greater than half of affected person complaints relate to scientific care and therapy outcomes. With respect to scientific care, sufferers expressed dissatisfaction with the standard of therapy, together with examination, ache administration, therapy, and continuity of care. Complaints referring to therapy outcomes principally involved errors and security, together with diagnostic and procedural errors, and surprising penalties or issues that may outcome from therapy.

To guard your self towards any such grievance, it’s important that you make sure that the follow and care you supply meets the present normal of care. The RCDSO gives tips that are supposed to educate and inform on the requirements practitioners are anticipated to satisfy. It is best to assessment these tips towards your individual practices. Equally, you must keep updated on the most recent scientific developments and their influence on requirements of care; persevering with skilled improvement applications may be an efficient and environment friendly approach to do that. Lastly, it can be crucial that you just talk clearly and overtly with sufferers relating to scientific care and therapy outcomes to set acceptable expectations.

Almost one-third of affected person complaints recognized by the RCDSO have been derived from poor or improper communication with sufferers. Whereas this class encompassed a various vary of complaints, most relate to problems with consent, skilled care and conduct, and the accuracy of knowledge offered by the dentist to the affected person.

The easiest way to guard towards any such grievance is to facilitate open and clear communications with sufferers, and to take care of thorough data in case of any misunderstandings. You must also do not forget that, as a dentist, you’re finally liable for the actions, together with communications, of your workers together with dental hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists. As such, you must steadily and persistently assessment communication protocols and requirements with all people concerned in your follow. This not solely helps keep away from complaints, but in addition promotes a optimistic model picture and wonderful customer support on your follow.

The third class pertains to follow administration which contains about 15 % of affected person complaints. These complaints relate largely to administrative issues resembling data and billings, follow cleanliness, and points referring to entry to care resembling affordability. Many of those complaints may be prevented by implementing the suggestions above, together with adopting RCDSO tips, creating open and direct communication channels with sufferers, and enhancing record-keeping practices. Within the period of COVID-19, it’s particularly vital that you just implement the improved precautions advisable by the RCDSO, each to guard your sufferers and to stop follow administration complaints with respect to COVID-19 preventative measures.

Half 2: What do you do subsequent?
Regardless of your greatest efforts, you’ve got probably encountered sufferers who merely can’t and won’t be happy. No matter how meticulous you’re, you’ll probably obtain a grievance in some unspecified time in the future in your profession.

The RCDSO is obligated to research each affected person grievance, regardless of how frivolous it might appear. As a part of this course of, you’ll be notified of the grievance and given 30 days to answer it in writing. Normally, your response might be offered to the Complainant who could have an additional alternative to remark. For that purpose, care should be taken to reply pretty and earnestly, regardless of your individual views on the deserves of the grievance.

All of the supplies generated as a part of the complaints course of, together with your response, will then be submitted for consideration to the Inquiries, Complaints and Stories Committee (ICRC). Whereas the ICRC could get rid of the grievance with out taking any motion, it might problem a verbal or written warning, or require the dentist to finish a remedial schooling program. These outcomes are severe as they’re printed on the School’s public register. In probably the most extreme circumstances, allegations {of professional} misconduct or incompetence are referred to the Self-discipline Committee for a listening to; the private, skilled, and monetary penalties of this may be extraordinarily severe.

Your complete course of earlier than the ICRC is carried out by means of paper transactions solely. Dentists don’t have any proper to name witnesses or make verbal representations earlier than the ICRC. This underscores the significance of sustaining wonderful record-keeping practices since you might want to offer paperwork in response to a grievance for consideration by the ICRC. As quickly as you obtain a grievance, you must determine and make copies of the related data. These must be submitted as a part of your response and can probably be requested for.

Given the paper format of ICRC, reviewing your written response to the grievance is significant. It’s your one and solely probability to elucidate your aspect of the grievance and to cut back any fallout from the method. Writing a superb response requires cautious consideration of your data, the outcomes of the RCDSO investigation, and previous choices of the ICRC. It’s important that your submission to the ICRC successfully handle the grievance in a persuasive method to persuade the ICRC that the least extreme consequence is suitable.

Given the potential ramifications that will outcome out of your response to the ICRC, you must take into account hiring a lawyer who focuses on skilled regulation that will help you navigate the complaints course of. An skilled lawyer’s assist can considerably scale back the stress and energy related to the complaints course of and, finally, be sure that you obtain the very best decision.

Concerning the Writer

Jordan Glick is the founding father of GlickLaw, a legislation agency targeted on representing professionals, together with dentists and dental hygienists, when complaints, disciplinary and licensing points come up. Jordan was named to the Greatest Attorneys in Canada Listing in 2019, 2020 and 2021.



Copyrighted Kayla Hannaford

Aly Háji is a lawyer at GlickLaw. Aly is a former pharmacist and accomplished a Legislation/MBA program. He holds an LL.M from Cambridge and clerked on the Supreme Courtroom of Canada.

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