Charter of Patient Rights

1. Introduction

Within Australia, the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (ACHR) applies to the entire healthcare system, and it allows patients, consumers, families, carers and healthcare providers to have a common understanding of the rights of people receiving healthcare. The rights included in the ACHR relate to access to appointments, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and comment.  Dental Health Care Associates has developed the following Charter of Patient Rights consistent with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.

2. Appointments

Dental Health Care Associates aims to provide patients with appointments to meet their treatment needs. It is requested patients make an agreed appointment time/date to assist the scheduling process, notifying the practice where this appointment cannot be met. To assist patients in attending and/or rescheduling their appointments, we contact them as a reminder. Dental Health Care Associates offers a variety of reminders to assist patients to meet their appointments:

  • Telephone call reminder or
  • SMS reminder or
  • Email reminder

Dental Health Care Associates requires a minimum 48 hours’ notice for cancellation of an appointment. Should the patient cancel without the required notice period, it is at the dental practitioner’s discretion as to whether a cancellation fee is to be charged, and if so, what this amount may be.

Patients that have failed to attend an appointment without the required notice are advised verbally and in writing that if it happens again there will be a fee charged. It is explained that if they had given the appropriate cancellation notice that someone else who needed urgent treatment could have been seen.

Dental Health Care Associates also keeps a cancellation list. If a patient prefers a specific day or time for an appointment, we will contact them if a suitable appointment becomes available. Every effort is made to accommodate patients with their scheduling needs.

Dental Health Care Associates allows time each day for emergency appointments for existing or new patients.

3. Safety

Dental Health Care associates aims to provide appropriate dental services in a safe, secure and supportive environment. We encourage patients and/or staff to raise any concerns they may have. If a concern is raised, all staff and management are required to address the concern as soon as possible.

All patients are required to complete a full medical history as accurately and completely as possible, to allow the dental practitioners to identify any potential issues that may arise when delivering dental treatment. If an adverse event occurs, dental practitioners at Dental Health Care Associates have a responsibility to be open and honest in communications with the patient involved, and families or carers if applicable.

It is the responsibility of the registered dental practitioner, in accordance with the Dental Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners, to explain to the patient what happened and why, as well as offering support and advice with regard to how the situation can best be resolved or managed.

Upon recognising the occurrence of an adverse event, the dental practitioner will follow our Open Disclosure Process, which aligns with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s Open Disclosure Standard, as outlined below:

· Act immediately to rectify the problem, if possible, including seeking any necessary help and advice.

· Explain to the patient, in sufficient detail, so the patient understands what has occurred, including the anticipated short-term and    long-term consequences.

· Acknowledge any patient distress and provide appropriate support.

· Develop a future management plan for the patient if required.

· Ensure that the patient has access to information about the process for making a complaint.

Sufficient detail is to be recorded in patient records to reflect the information provided to the patient about the incident, associated risks and likely consequences. The dental practitioner will notify the occurrence of the adverse event to their professional indemnity insurer, consistent with the clauses of their policy.