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Common Queries

Common Queries and Step-by-Step Guide to Lodging a Complaint with the Singapore Dental Council


Complaint Matters

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1. Is the Singapore Dental Council the right place for me to lodge my complaint?

The Singapore Dental Council (“SDC”) governs and regulates the professional conduct of dentists and oral health therapists to ensure the provision of high standards of oral healthcare. The SDC administers the disciplinary process when complaints are made against dentists and oral health therapists.

For example:

(a)    Cases involving serious misconduct or serious mistakes pertaining to a patient’s dental care, such as misdiagnosis, wrong prescriptions and/or mistreatment by the dentist/oral health therapist concerned;

(b)    Improper conduct such as inappropriate relationships between a dentist/oral health therapist and his/her patient;

(c)    Breach of confidentiality;

(d)    Unethical behaviour; and

(e)    Criminal offences that reflect badly on the standing of the dental profession. 

 

However, the SDC does not have the power to investigate complaints involving:

(a)    Institutional policies such as scheduling of appointments, billing and charges issues;

(b)    Healthcare professionals other than dentists and oral health therapists; and

(c)    Dentists and oral health therapists who are not registered with the Council.

2. How do I lodge a complaint and what is the process?

To file a complaint, you will require:

        (a)    A Statutory Declaration Form [PDF, 67KB];
        (b)    A letter of complaint type-written in English (you may use our Sample Template [PDF, 66KB]);
        (c)    All relevant supporting documents.

The Singapore Dental Council ("SDC") is unable to accept verbal complaints e.g. phone calls. Should the complaint lack the required documents, the SDC reserves the right to reject the complaint.

More information about the Statutory Declaration Form, letter of complaint, and relevant supporting documents can be found here [PDF, 41KB].

To understand the process of lodging a complaint, please refer here [PDF, 68KB].

Please submit these completed documents to:

Singapore Dental Council
 81 Kim Keat Road
 #09-00 NKF Centre
 Singapore 328836
 Attention: Inspecting Officer

3. How will my complaint be processed?

Every complaint is taken seriously. Your complaint will be processed by an independent Complaints Committee (“CC”), which comprises a council member as chairperson, two dentists and a layperson. Generally, investigations will usually take 3 months, while more complex investigations could take up to 6 months or more.

All proceedings before the CC are confidential, you will NOT receive periodic updates on the status of the investigations until it is completed. A letter or an email will be sent to you informing of the outcome of the investigation.

4. Will the Dentist / Oral Health Therapist see my complaint?

Yes, the dentist will get to see your complaint, including your identity and details of your allegation(s). As part of a fair and impartial investigation, the dentist will be called upon to answer any allegation(s) made against him/her.

The CC may also access your medical/dental records as part of the investigations. All documents before the CC (including your complaint and medical/dental records) remain confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties other than the dentist(s) concerned, except as required by law.

5. What happens to the Dentist / Oral Health Therapist and clinic after the CC completes its investigations?

After the CC completes its investigations, it may:

        (a)    Dismiss the complaint;

        (b)    Issue the Dentist or Oral Health Therapist with a letter of advice;

        (c)    Issue the Dentist or Oral Health Therapist with a letter of warning; or

        (d)    Order a formal inquiry to be held by a Disciplinary Committee or a Health Committee.

The Singapore Dental Council ("SDC") can only mete out disciplinary action against a dentst / oral health therapist and cannot provide the following outcomes that complainants may be seeking:

        (a)    Monetory refund to a patient or reduction in a bill;

        (b)    Compensation / damages for any harm caused as a result of a dentist's misconduct or negligence;

        (c)    Retrieval of dental records on your behalf;

        (d)    An explanation from the Dentist(s) or Oral Health Therapist(s) with regards to a treatment or procedure;

        (e)    An order that the Dentist(s) perform a particular procedure or offer a certain treatment;

        (f)    An apology from the Dentist(s) or Oral Health Therapist(s) to you and/or the patient;

        (g)    Revocation of the license of the Dentist(s) or Oral Health Therapist(s); and

        (h)    Criminal sanctions (e.g. imprisonment) against the Dentist(s) and/or Oral Health Therapist(s).

These outcomes are not within the purview of the SDC. Some avenues for seeking the above outcomes are provided under Question 8. 

6. Will the Council inform me of the outcomes of my complaint?

You will be informed of the outcomes of the appeal either via a letter or an email. 

7. What can I do if I am not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you may appeal to the Minister for Health, whose decision shall be final. You can write to the Minister for Health via email MOH_QSM@moh.gov.sg.

8. What are other avenues available for me to seek redress?

You may be able to seek your desired outcome via other avenues listed here. Some of the common avenues to deal with such complaints can be found in the attachment, as the Singapore Dental Council ("SDC") process may not be appropriate for all complaints involving healthcare issues.

CPE Matters

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1. I have an event in August 2018 and I have yet to submit my application. Is there any waiver for this application requirement of at least 1 calendar month?

You may proceed to submit your application immediately and it will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Kindly note that all applications from September 2018 onwards should adhere strictly to the application requirement of at least 1 calendar month. 

2. I do not have the required supporting documents, can I submit application for my event online first?

No, please submit your application for accreditation of event ONLY WHEN you have gathered all supporting documents, (1) speakers' CV and (2) programme outline with time allocation of each activity. Kindly note that applications with incomplete information will not be processed. 

3. If I am not able to submit the application for my event at least 1 calendar month prior to the start of the event due to some operational uncertainties, is any exception allowed?

No appeals will be entertained. You are advised to adhere strictly to the application requirement to submit the CPE application at least 1 calendar month prior to the event. 

4. My event is already taking place on 01 August but I have yet to submit the application. Can I submit an appeal?

We regret that no appeals will be entertained. 

5. I have already printed the CPE points on my publicity materials for this August / September event prior to SDC's approval. What should I do?

Providers could indicate "pending approval" on these initial round of document / publicity material. The final publicity material (after SDC's CPE points approval) should indicate the approved points. 

Other Common Queries

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1. I am a dental practitioner and was accorded a National Day Award (NDA) for my community service. Can I display and state the NDA on my name card?

National Day Award (NDA) is not deemed as a professional qualification per se and dental practitioner accorded such NDA by the President of Singapore need not seek Council's approval. However, dental practitioner must display the National Day Award title against the name in accordance to PMO's guidelines. 

Last updated: 11 Sep 2018 17:17