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To think the dentist shouldn't charge me for cancelling?

88 replies

SneakyGremlins · 26/09/2018 11:39

Have a dentist appointment at 2PM today, but emailed this morning to cancel as I have been vomiting off and on overnight and thing I'm coming down with something. Dentist acknowledged email but said they would "probably" still have to charge for a late cancellation.

AIBU to think this isn't fair? Do they want me to go in and throw up? Confused

OP posts:
Sirzy · 26/09/2018 11:41

Problem is though that they still have an empty space unless an emergency comes in. People could easily make up any excuse to not go if they don’t change

KlutzyDraconequus · 26/09/2018 11:42

You're telling the truth.. they can't prove it.. how many people call with the same excuse that aren't telling the truth?
Like the old 'Dog ate my homework' excuse.. that one kid whose dog did eat their homework isn't believed..
Sucks but that's why.

Satsumaeater · 26/09/2018 11:43

No it's not fair and flies in the face of common sense.

Ask them if they'd reimburse you the cost of the appointment if the dentist was off sick. I suspect the answer is a big fat no.

I don't agree with these charges especially as they are likely to be able to fill the appointment slot.

I do think they should charge if people don't have the courtesy to cancel, but that's a different issue.

sue51 · 26/09/2018 11:43

My dentist charges for less than 24 hours notice. I'm sure they don't want you to throw up but it's standard to charge a cancellation fee.

BasicUsername · 26/09/2018 11:44

Email them and ask if they are happy for you to come in with D&V, as you don't wish to pay a cancellation fee due to a genuine illness.

I can kind of see their point though. They will be unlikely to be able to fill the space now, and a lot of people probably say they are poorly to get out of paying a cancellation fee.

SneakyGremlins · 26/09/2018 11:46

I think it just bugs me as I get free dental treatment due to being on ESA - couldn't pay for a normal appointment, too expensive, so the charge is an extra unaffordable kick in the teeth Sad

I guess you're right though.

OP posts:
DolorestheNewt · 26/09/2018 11:47

It's really unfortunate when illness catches you before the 24-hour cancellation clock starts ticking, but it's the only way that dentists (or a host of other professionals where the client's presence is a prerequisite to paid work) can protect themselves against cancellations that aren't for genuine reasons and if the charge were not in place, they would have constant downtime.

I do resent the high cost of dental treatment, but as a principle they still have rent to pay, dental nurses to pay, receptionists to pay, insurances to pay, as well as their personal income. They can't guarantee that that slot will be filled by a late appointment (though it sounds as though if they do get someone in your slot, they might waive the charge). So you have to have one rule and stick to it. I'm so sorry, OP, it is like insult to injury, isn't it? Hope your sickness clears up soon and the cancellation charge isn't too high.

DolorestheNewt · 26/09/2018 11:48

Oops, sorry, started typing before everyone else said the same thing!

ajandjjmum · 26/09/2018 11:49

I turned up to my dentist with a cold sore - he told me he couldn't treat me, and if it happened in future, just to call. They made no charge.

AveEldon · 26/09/2018 11:51

I thought NHS dentists couldn't charge for cancellation

CuriousaboutSamphire · 26/09/2018 11:51

It's a standard charge, one I have had to pay a couple of times. I can't begrudge it as I too am self employed and have subcontractors to pay. I too have a cancellation charge, and mine is 48 hours!

And I have spoken to my dentist, she is now a friend, and their on costs are bloody enormous! Knowing just some of the details, I don't blame them for having such a charge.

CuriousaboutSamphire · 26/09/2018 11:53

Ave How many people have access to an NHS dentist these days? I know round here they are like hen's teeth.

TheTroublesomestTribble · 26/09/2018 11:53

This kind of reasoning is so bizarre, of course they will charge you, it's not their fault you're ill, why should they be out of pocket? If it's that much of an issue for you, you should have taken out insurance.

As an aside, I had the misfortune of watching one of those 'rip off britain' type of programs which was full of this nonsense - people booking (cheap and inflexible) holidays then complaining that they couldn't cancel due to 'genuine' mistakes/unforeseen circumstances.

It's not the fault of the company, you need to take responsibility for your own health/life etc...


melj1213 · 26/09/2018 11:54

YABU - My dentist has a policy of charging unless you give more than 24hrs notice regardless of the reason and it's a pretty standard policy.

The only time they waive the charge is if they can fill your appointment slot with either an emergency patient or someone on the cancellation list. This is to encourage people to only cancel if they genuinely can't make it and to do so as soon as possible to give them maximum time to fill the slot (ie 8am when you wake up feeling sick and surgery opens rather than at 2pm when you've been feeling rough all day for an appointment at 2.30)

They used to always waive the charge if it was cancelled due to sickness but the amount of people who would abuse this and cancel last minute "because they were sick" so that they weren't charged for their own lack of organisation meant that they had to stop this goodwill gesture.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds · 26/09/2018 11:58

Ring them up and explain about the ESA situation. If they are arsey tell them you will come in after all as you cannot afford the charge. If they say you cannot do this, that the appt has been filled already, then imo you have grounds to reject the charge. The dentist shouldn't charge you for a space they have filled with someone else.
Tbh, people are desperate for dental appts - I doubt the dentist would be losing money by letting you off the charge.

Haireverywhere · 26/09/2018 12:01

Yabu but sorry you're poorly. They can't start deciding whose reasons for cancelling are better or more valid than others so just need a policy based on time.

TheTroublesomestTribble · 26/09/2018 12:01

...but why should the dentist have to run around trying to rebook the slot?

That's an additional cost to their business and pushes prices up for everyone.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds · 26/09/2018 12:05

The dentist won't be running around trying the fill the slot Confused. People are always needing appts - I bet they filled it seconds after you put the phone down.

Bluelady · 26/09/2018 12:06

If the OP gets free treatment it's obviously an NHS dentist. It seems insane that someone who would get the appointment free if they turned up should have to pay for not doing so.

C8H10N4O2 · 26/09/2018 12:08

I didn't think dentists could charge NHS patients for no-shows, especially if they are sick and have phoned to free up the slot for an emergency appt.

If the receptionist said they may charge rather than they will charge then ring back and explain you are on free treatment due to being on ESA and simply can't afford it. Offer the option of turning up with your vomiting bug.

OverTheHedgeSammy · 26/09/2018 12:11

Tell them you're happy to go in, even though you are ill, if they would prefer?

C8H10N4O2 · 26/09/2018 12:11

That's an additional cost to their business and pushes prices up for everyone.

But charging for a NHS non chargeable appt is a tax on low income people who fall ill. The OP is not cancelling to go shoe shopping.

However since it was "probably" rather than will I would ring back to clarify and supply additional details if necessary.


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Dychmygol · 26/09/2018 12:11

My dentist will always charge if less than 24 hours. They also only allow you 2 cancelled appointments in a rolling 12 months even with the 24 hour rule.

They're a business and they operate an NHS list. If you want to stay on the NHS list you abide by their terms. I appreciate illness isn't your fault, but it isn't theirs either.

I've had to pay for swimming lessons DD couldn't attend because of sickness, this is no different.

Saywhat31 · 26/09/2018 12:11

Im a dental nurse of 14 years in a busy NHS practice. We are not allowed to charge for no shows or late cancellations, its against the law! So phone them back up and get them to explain their cancellation policy to you. We would never charge anybody who was genuinely poorly!

C8H10N4O2 · 26/09/2018 12:12

I've had to pay for swimming lessons DD couldn't attend because of sickness, this is no different.

An elective leisure activity which is entirely privately funded is a completely different situation from someone trying to access needed NHS treatment.

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