I've had a complaint: what to send us

What information do you need to send the DDU if you've had a complaint made against you?

What should I do if someone complains?

If a patient or someone else complains about the treatment or service you or your practice has provided and you ask us to help, 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.

Remember, complaints are handled differently to claims. For information on what to what to do if you receive a claim, read our separate guide.

  • If you need to send your request for assistance and/or any relevant documents to us, please do so by email to ddu@theddu.com, making sure you include your membership number in the subject field.
  • If there is something you can't send digitally, please discuss this with the dento-legal adviser allocated to handle your case.

What to send

When sending information to us, please supply us with anonymised information which refers to the patient's initials and date of birth only. Please redact any other patient identifiable information, such as full name, address, email address, telephone numbers, etc.

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, which should be sent as a .PDF or Microsoft Word document. Please do not send these as an Excel spreadsheet as it's not possible for us to use them in this format.

The clinical records should include:

  • clinical notes, including any voided or deleted entries
  • radiographs
  • clinical photographs (suitably anonymised)
  • 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/personal dental 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. Copies of conventional films can be scanned or digitally captured.

If you have any doubt as to what constitutes the records or how to send them to us, 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. 

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

All the information you send us needs to be anonymised. We can accept the patient's initials and date of birth, 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 everything and get back to you with a response.

If you receive any other communication from the complainant or their representatives before our adviser contacts 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 page was correct at publication on 21/11/2023. Any guidance 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.