Complaints about private healthcare services

If you have a complaint about a healthcare service you have received through the private sector there are a number of organisations who may be able to help you. Firstly each service should have their own in-house complaints procedure so it is best to bring your concerns to the attention of the service manager, designated person within the practice, or health professional concerned in the first instance.
Most health professionals will also be members of trade or professional organisations who monitor standards within the professions, and you may have the right to report concerns to these organisations.  Behind all of these organisations you still have the right to bring your concerns to the attention of the Care Quality Commission. Below are details of some of the organisations that you can raise your concerns about your treatment with, who can offer you advice and guidance through the complaints procedure.

Dental Complaints Service

Stephenson House
2 Cherry Orchard Road
Tel: 08456 120 540 at local rate (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)


Funded by the General Dental Council, the organisation that regulates dental professionals in the UK, this is a free service independent of the NHS or the Government.
Aiming to settle complaints about private dental care fairly, efficiently and quickly, they work with patients and dental professionals to reach a solution that both parties are happy with.  The solution may involve remedial treatment, a refund, or a referral to another professional. 

They will look into private complaints that are raised within 12 months of the treatment taking place, or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about. They cannot deal with a complaint that you have been aware of for over 12 months but have not raised during that time.  They do not deal with NHS complaints, concerns about the behaviour or ability of a dental professional (for this you need to contact the General Dental Council), or award compensation.

General Dental Council

37 Wimpole Street
Tel: 0845 222 4141

The GDC will take action when a dental professional’s behaviour, ability, or health means it is no longer suitable for them to continue working as a dental professional.  The types of concern they can investigate include:

  • Very poor treatment

  • Not having professional indemnity insurance

  • Cross-infection issues (e.g. dirty equipment)

  • Being under the influence of drink or drugs

  • Fraud or theft

If the situation is serious enough they can limit or remove the dental professional’s right to work in the UK.

General Optical Council

41 Harley Street
Tel: 020 7580 3898
Fax: 020 7436 3525

The General Optical Council will investigate complaints about whether an optician is fit to practice. Issues investigated include:

  • Poor professional performance

  • Physical or mental health problems affecting their work

  • Inappropriate behaviour

  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work

  • Fraud or dishonesty

  • A criminal conviction or caution

  • A finding by another regulatory body

Independent Healthcare Advisory Services

Centre Point
103 New Oxford Street
Tel: 020 7379 8598, 020 7379 8586

IHAS are able to offer you advice and guidance about how to make a complaint about a private healthcare service you have received or have concerns about.  In association with the Patients Association they offer a thorough step-by-step guide to your complaints process. They are able to point you in the direction of organisations such as:

  • Independent Doctors Federation –

  • Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service – a membership organisation that private hospitals, clinics and practices subscribe to and can display the ISCAS logo, who operate a Code of Practice with a progressive three stage complaints procedure.

Optical Consumer Complaints Service

PO Box 219
GU32 9BY
Tel: 0844 800 5071
Fax: 01730 265058

This service will be able to help you if you are dissatisfied with goods or services you’ve received, or are receiving from an optician registered with the General Optical Council.

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