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Respecting your Consumer Rights

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, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and comment.

Exquisite Smiles has developed the following practice specific charter of patient rights that is consistent with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.

Exquisite Smiles Charter of Patient Rights

Exquisite Smiles aims to provide patients with appointments to meet their dental needs. It is requested patients make an agreed appointment time and date to assist the scheduling process, notifying the practice when this appointment cannot be met. To assist our patients in confirming their appointments we will aim to contact you one day prior to your scheduled appointment time by SMS, email or phone call.

The cancellation policy of Exquisite Smiles requires 24 hours’ notice for cancellation of an appointment where possible. Should a patient cancel without the required notice period, a $50 cancellation fee may be incurred.

Exquisite Smiles aims to provide dental care in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Our practitioners regularly attend professional development courses to ensure the highest level of up to date patient care.

In the unlikely occurrence of an adverse event, dental practitioners at Exquisite Smiles have a responsibility to be open and honest in communications with the patient involved, and families or carers if applicable.

Exquisite Smiles values all patients as a unique person and hope that at all times we can provide dental treatment in a manner that is respectful of their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics. Patients are asked to reciprocate this respect by being mindful of all staff and other patients.

Communication & Informed Consent
In planning each patient’s dental care Exquisite Smiles believes it is the patient’s right to receive adequate information and to be involved in making informed treatment decisions. Our dental team is committed to providing patients with accessible and understandable information about their treatment to help them with this process.

The initial examination of a patient shall be considered ‘implied consent’ to that procedure based on the booking of an appointment, attendance and the patient allowing the clinical examination to occur. Any subsequent treatment shall require the patient to make an informed decision and consent to the treatment either verbally or in writing depending on the procedure and associated risks.

Patients will be given the opportunity have their questions answered and afforded sufficient time if needed to discuss their treatment plan with their family, carer or advisor, especially for complex treatment plans.

All informed consent documentation used by the practitioners at Exquisite Smiles is reviewed at regular intervals and any updates to these documents are designed to improve patient understanding and the quality of care provided.

To provide you with the highest standard of dental care Exquisite Smiles is required to collect personal information from you. This information covers basic details such as name, address and telephone number.

It is also necessary to gather information about your general health and past medical and surgical events. Without this general health picture, thorough planning of your dental care may not be possible.

Exquisite Smiles values the need to safeguard this information and in accordance with the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, the Dental Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner- Australian Privacy Principles, a patient can expect their personal health and other information will be collected, used, disclosed and stored in accordance with relevant laws about privacy. This information will remain confidential unless the law allows disclosure or the patient directs us to release the information.

The Privacy Policy of Exquisite Smiles consists of the following:

  • All information collected from the patient will be used for the purpose of providing treatment. Personal information such as name, address and health insurance details will be used for the purpose of addressing accounts to the patient, as well as processing payments and writing to the patient about any issues affecting their treatment.
  • We may disclose a patient’s health information to other health care professionals, or require it from them if, in our judgement, it is necessary in the context of the patient’s treatment. In this event, disclosure of personal details will be minimised wherever possible.
  • We may also use parts of a patient’s health information for research purposes, in study groups or at seminars as this may provide benefit to other patients. Should that happen, a patient’s personal identity would not be disclosed without their consent to do so.
  • Patient history, treatment records, X-rays and any other material relevant to treatment will be kept and remain in a secure environment.
  • Under the privacy law, patients have rights of access to dental information held about them by this practice. We welcome a patient to inspect or request copies of their treatment records at any time, or seek an explanation from the dentist. The following procedure has been developed to ensure that all requests for access are dealt with as efficiently as possible:
  • All requests for access (other than straightforward requests for copies of test or treatment results made to your dentist during your consultation) should be made in writing using Request for Release of Dental Records Form.
  • Requests for access will be acknowledged by the practice within 5 business days of the receipt of the request.
  • Where it is not possible for access to be granted within 30 days, the patient will be notified/advised when and if access will be granted.
  • Where access is refused, the patient will be advised in writing of the reasons for refusal. This will include any information about other means by which access may be facilitated.
  • A patient will not be permitted to remove any of the contents of their dental file from the practice, nor will they be permitted to alter or erase information contained in the dental record. However, if any of the information we have about a patient is inaccurate, a patient is encouraged to ask us to alter their records accordingly, in writing.
  • When a request for copies of dental records is received, no fee will be required to be paid by the patient.
  • Generally, records will be transferred by the practice (on behalf of consenting patients) from one treating practitioner to another. In limited circumstances patients will be required to collect their records in person or may request in writing that records are provided to another authorised person.
  • If a patient, or authorised person, is collecting a copy of dental records, they may be required to provide identification. Where possible this should be photographic identification.

Providing Feedback, Compliments and Complaints
A patient’s evaluation of the care received at our practice is an extremely important form of feedback that provides valuable information about the services we provide. We encourage patients to provide both positive and negative feedback.

In the event of a patient complaint, Exquisite Smiles will follow our complaint handling policy:

  • Provide an open environment for a patient to share their dissatisfaction with us directly, whilst respecting the patient’s right to have a concern heard by an independent third party such as the Dental Board of Australia.
  • Aim to resolve the complaint at the lowest level possible, where an explanation or clarification of circumstances satisfies or resolves the patient’s concerns.
  • A patient will be asked to place serious complaints or requests for refunds will in writing.
  • Notification to and advice sought from professional associations and professional indemnity insurers is encouraged.

All levels of complaints will be acknowledged and responded to, either verbally or in writing, in respect to the seriousness of the complaint. Compliments and complaints received will be recorded in our Compliments and Complaints Register. Exquisite Smiles is committed to continuous improvement in patient safety and quality.

Exquisite Smiles will endeavour to assist patients in understanding their patient rights and the way our practice operates. It is the responsibility of our staff to proactively identify those patients whom may be ‘at risk’ of not understanding their healthcare rights and to consult the dental practitioner if further guidance is needed.