Communication with Patients
In this section:
- Arranging Appointments
- Involving the Patient in Agreeing Their Care
- Communication During Examination and Treatment
- Agreeing the Recall Interval
- Emergency Patients
Communicate effectively with patients is one of the nine GDC principles set out in Standards for the Dental Team .
Effective communication with the patient is required before and during each appointment to ensure the patient is fully informed and involved in decisions about their care. It is important to respect patient privacy for discussions of a sensitive nature (e.g. medical information, payment or asking for proof of exemption status) and to treat patients with dignity and respect. It is also important that patients are able to make comments or complaints about their care.
Make information about the practice easily accessible, e.g. in the form of displayed notices and/or leaflets.
NB: The NHS Inform website  has a range of webpages aimed at providing information for patients about their rights and responsibilities with regard to NHS services including dentistry. Consider providing the NHS Inform website address to patients.
Display practice staff information, including registration numbers, where it can seen by patients . Display the nine principles contained within the Standards for the Dental Team, where they can be easily seen by patients .
Make the public aware when the practice is accepting new patients and ensure all staff know the procedure for accepting new patients.
Ensure a simple price list is displayed where it can be clearly seen by patients, as required by GDC Principle 2 .
Consider putting together a ‘New Patient Pack’ containing a welcome letter (see New Patients Letter May 2023 template (Word)) and a Patient Information Leaflet (see Patient Information Leaflet Example May 2023 template (Word)) including information regarding charges.
Be aware personal details may be overheard or seen by others in the reception/waiting area; always respect patient privacy.
Put in place a policy which details how patients can give feedback, make comments, express concerns and make complaints, and how these will be dealt with in order to continuously improve care (see Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints Procedure).
Put in place a policy on how to communicate a change of dentist to patients (see Patient Notification of a Change of Dentist Policy May 2023 template (Word)).