Do Dentists charge for Missed Appointments?


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Following recent changes to the way the NHS works, a series of reforms were implemented not only to the charging scheme but also for dental check ups and appointments. Since 2006 the NHS has worked at streamlining the way the Primary Care Trusts coordinate the care given to the local community. Similarly, to simplify the way patients are charged for various dental treatments, the charges have been standardised into three bands. For checkups the charge is £16.50, for moderately complex dental procedures £45 and for the more extensive and complex treatments the maximum fee is now £198.

In terms of missed appointments; charging for a missed appointment is now only allowed when there is a direct loss of income. The NHS instituted this as it was thought to be highly unlikely that the current levels of missed appointments would have a significant impact on a practice's ability to perform the required level of activity as stated by their contract. This is a highly controversial move however, and NHS officials are still in discussions with professionals in regard to further changes. The NHS has also provided guidelines to professionals on managing their appointments so that missed appointments are minimised without resorting to charging patients.

Many private dentists charge a fixed missed appointment fee or a percentage towards the treatment. Missed appointments and cancellation fees are usually made clear on the dentist’s literature or using notices around the surgery. In most cases private dentists uphold a 24-hour cancellation policy.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »