Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
1996 No. 114
HEALTH AND PERSONAL SOCIAL SERVICES
General Dental Services (Amendment) Regulation z (Northern Ireland) 1996
22nd March 1996
Coming into operation
1st April 1996
The Department of Health and Social Services, in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Articles 61(1), (2) and (2AA), 106 and 107(6) of, and paragraph 8E of Part I of Schedule II to, the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972(1) and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, and in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Personnel and after consultation with such organisations as appeared to the Department to be representative of the dental profession as required by Article 61(4) of the said Order, hereby makes the following regulations:
Citation, commencement and interpretation
1.—(1) These regulations may be cited as the General Dental Services (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 and shall come into operation on 1st April 1996.
(2) In these regulations, “the principal regulations” means the Health and Personal Social Services General Dental Services Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993(2).
Amendment of Schedule 2 to the principal regulations
2. In Schedule 2 to the principal regulations (terms of service for dentists), after paragraph 31 there shall be inserted—
31A.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), a dentist shall establish, and operate in accordance with this paragraph, a procedure (in this paragraph and in paragraph 31B referred to as a “practice based complaints procedure”) to deal with any complaints made by or on behalf of his patients and former patients.
(2) The practice based complaints procedure to be established by a dentist may be such that it also deals with complaints made in relation to one or more other dentists.
(3) A practice based complaints procedure shall apply to complaints made in relation to any matter reasonably connected with the dentist’s provision of general dental services and within the responsibility or control of—
(b)any other dentists either employed by him or engaged as a deputy;
(c)a former partner of the dentist;
(d)an employee of the dentist other than one falling within head (b),
and in this paragraph and paragraph 31B, references to complaints are to complaints falling within this sub-paragraph.
(4) A complaint may be made on behalf of a patient or former patient with his consent, or—
(a)where the patient is a child under 16—
(i)by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult person who has care of the child, or
(ii)where the child is in the care of a Board or HSS trust to whose care he has been committed under the provisions of the Children and Young Persons Act (Northern Ireland) 1968(3) or in the care of a voluntary organisation, by that Board or HSS trust or voluntary organisation; or
(b)where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult person who has an interest in his welfare.
(5) Where a patient has died a complaint may be made by a relative or other adult person who had an interest in his welfare or, where the patient was as described in head (a)(ii) of sub-paragraph (4), by the Board or HSS trust or voluntary organisation.
(6) A practice based complaints procedure shall comply with the following requirements—
(a)the dentist shall specify a person (who need not be connected with the dentist’s practice and who in the case of an individual, may be specified by his job title) to be responsible for receiving and investigating all complaints;
(b)all complaints shall be—
(i)recorded in writing,
(ii)acknowledged, either orally or in writing, within the period of three days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Bank and Public Holidays) beginning with and including the day on which the complaint was received by the person specified under head (a), or where that is not possible as soon as reasonably practicable, and
(b)within the period of 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Bank and Public Holidays) beginning with and including the day on which the complaint was received by the person specified under head (a) or, where that is not possible as soon as reasonably practicable, the complainant shall be given a written summary of the investigation and its conclusions;
(d)where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s dental records, the person specified under head (a) shall inform the patient or person acting on his behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the dentist or a partner, a deputy or an employee of the dentist; and
(e)the dentist shall keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records shall be kept separate from patients' dental records.
(7) A dentist shall inform his patients about the practice based complaints procedure which he operates and give the name (or title) and address of the person specified under sub-paragraph (6)(a).
31B.—(1) A dentist shall co-operate with any investigation of a complaint by the Board in accordance with the procedures which it operates, whether the investigation follows one under the practice based complaints procedure or not.
(2) The co-operation required by sub-paragraph (1) includes—
(a)answering questions reasonably put to the dentist by the Board;
(b)providing any information relating to the complaint reasonably required by the Board; and
(c)attending any meeting to consider the complaint (if held at a reasonably accessible place and at a reasonable hour, and due notice has been given), if the dentist’s presence at the meeting is reasonably required by the Board.
31C.—(1) A dentist whose name is included in the dental list shall provide to the Board by 30th June each year a return stating the number of complaints received in accordance with paragraph 31A in respect of the period of 12 months ending on 31st March of that year.
(2) In the case of a dentist who practises in partnership with one or more other dentists whose names are included in the dental list, the information referred to in sub-paragraph (1) shall be provided in respect of the partnership as a whole instead of by each dentist in the partnership individually.”.
Amendment of Schedule 2 to the principal regulations
3.—(1) Schedule 2 to the principal regulations (terms of service for dentists) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 27 (completion of an estimate)—
(a)in sub-paragraph (1), for “(2), (3)” there shall be substituted “(2)”; and
(b)sub-paragraph (3) shall be omitted.
(3) For paragraph 31 there shall be substituted—
“Information about HS charges
31. A dentist shall display in a prominent position at the practice premises information, in a form supplied or approved by the Agency, about charges for general dental services.”.
Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Health and Social Services on
D. A. Baker
22nd March 1996.
Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Finance and Personnel on.
J. G. Sullivan
22nd March 1996
(This note is not part of the Regulations.)
These regulations further amend the Health and Personal Social Services General Dental Services Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993 (“the principal regulations”).
Regulation 2 amends the dentist’s terms of service contained in Schedule 2 to the principal regulations to require dentists to establish and operate a complaints procedure within their practice.
Regulation 3 makes minor amendments to the terms of service in Schedule 2 regarding computerised estimate forms and information to be displayed in practice premises.
S.I. 1972/1265 (N.I. 14) as amended by Article 13 of S.I. 1978/1907 (N.I. 26); Articles 30, 34 and 35 and Part I of Schedule 5 to, and Part I of Schedule 6 to, S.I. 1991/194 (N.I. 1); paragraph 8E of Part I of Schedule 11 was inserted by Article 4 of S.I. 1995/2704 (N.I. 14)
S.R. 1993 No. 326 as amended by S.R. 1993 No. 401 and S.R. 1995 No. 488
1968 c. 34