I've had a complaint: what to send us

Man reading letter

26 October 2018

If you ask us to help you with a complaint, we'll need you to send us specific information so we can assist you.

This guide lets you know what you should send us, and what to expect after you do.

What to send

1: Copies of all the clinical records relating to the complaint

This should include all paper records, including any old or archived paper records, and all computer records (either printouts or screenshots).

The clinical records should include:

  • clinical notes, including any voided or deleted entries
  • radiographs
  • medical history questionnaires and any updated ones (paper or computerised)
  • dental chartings
  • periodontal chartings, including BPE scores
  • NHS forms such as FP17PR (or equivalent) and FP17DC treatment plans/personaldental treatment plans
  • private treatment plans and cost estimates
  • referral correspondence (out and in)
  • any consent forms
  • laboratory prescriptions, dockets or certificates of conformity
  • appointment history.

You can send digital radiographs to us by email or physically on a storage device. Copies of conventional films can be scanned or digitally captured.

If you have any doubt as to what constitutes the records, please contact us.

2: Any complaint correspondence

This could be between you or the practice and the patient, or with third parties, such as the Ombudsman or the Dental Complaints Service (DCS), and should include a copy of the acknowledgement of the complaint.

If the complaint hasn't yet been acknowledged in writing, arrange for this to be sent to the complainant at the earliest opportunity along with a copy of the relevant complaints procedure. If you need it, you can use this acknowledgement letter template to do so.

3: A copy of your practice complaints procedure

If you'd like more information about complaints procedures, the following resources might be useful:

4: Any extra information you think might help

This could be anything that will help us to help you. For example, is there anything you remember about your care of the patient that isn't in the records?

It's helpful to have your comments on each aspect of the complaint, so provide them by the most convenient method for you, such as bullet points or a draft response.

How to send your information

  • Email your information to ddu@theddu.com. In the subject line put your DDU membership number and the words 'New matter', along with the initials and date of birth of the patient.
  • You can also post your information to our London address.

We'll reply to your preferred email listed on the DDU membership database. If you'd like us to use an alternative email or postal address, please let us know.

All the information you send to us needs to be anonymised. We can accept the initials and date of birth of the patient, but please remove their full name, address, email address, phone numbers etc.

What happens next?

Once we've received your information we will allocate a dento-legal adviser to your file and let you know the file reference number, but it may take the adviser some time to read all the information and get back to you with a response.

If you have any other communication from the complainant or their representatives before our adviser has contacted you, please call the DDU advice line immediately on 0800 374 626.


We'll normally allocate your file within one working day of when we receive your information. Remember that if you send it outside our normal office hours, it won't be received until the start of the next working day.

We aim to respond within three to five working days after you receive the file reference number.

More information

See our DDU support pages for more information on how we can help if you've received a complaint, claim or letter from the GDC.

This guidance was correct at publication 26/10/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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