A new report from Queensland’s independent health watchdog shows dental complaints could be reduced if more dental practitioners adhered to existing standards, policies and guidelines.
The report, Teething problems – a spotlight report on complaints about dental care in Queensland explores what patients, families and carers have told the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC) about the problems in dental care. The HQCC analysed all 855 dental complaints received between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2011.
Chief executive officer Cheryl Herbert said, “dental practitioners are the second most frequently complained about healthcare practitioner group, after doctors.”
“It is important for us to share complaints information with health consumers and providers so we can spark discussion and drive improvement.”
To measure dental practitioner improvement, the HQCC has set two key performance indicators:
the number of complaints about registered dental practitioners with a target to drop below the current rate of 9.2 complaints per 100 registered dental practitioners.
the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions with a target to drop below 2.8 separations per 1000 population.
The HQCC will repeat its dental complaint study again in 2015 to determine if improvements have been made.
HQCC received 855 dental complaints between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2011, accounting for 12 per cent of all of the healthcare complaints we received in the same period. There was a 35 per cent increase in the number of dental complaints received during this period compared to 20 per cent increase in the total number of healthcare complaints received.
- 80 per cent of dental complaints were about treatment.
- 78 per cent of dental complaints were about private sector dental services.
- 75 per cent of complaints about dental services were about dental care provided in private group or sole practices.
- 88 per cent of complaints identifying an individual practitioner were about dentists, followed by dental prosthetists with 8 per cent.
- 15.5 per cent of complaints were about dental care provided under the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme or the Medicare Teen Dental Plan.
- 16 dental practitioners received four or more complaints between 2009 and 2011.
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