Advanced Payments and Deposits
Most of you will be aware that in 2020, we introduced advanced payments and deposits. Initially, during COVID-19, this helped reduce face-to-face contact and played its part in keeping everyone safer.
During that time we noticed a significant decrease in late cancellations (less than 48 hours) and failed appointments. As a result, we decided to implement this policy permanently.
For various reasons, we have become somewhat relaxed in 2023 and 2024 and have not been so disciplined when taking payments to secure your appointments. As a result, over the past few months, we have seen a steady incline in late cancellations and failed appointments.
For this reason, with immediate effect – non-member patients will be asked for payment when scheduling their next appointment.
- General Appointments will require a deposit to secure their appointment. These may include check-ups, hygiene, fillings and general dental treatment.
Example: Deposits will be calculated at £1 per minute; a 30-minute appointment will require a £30 deposit.
- Patients having treatment that requires work being sent to a laboratory will be asked for full payment at the point of booking. This may include treatment such as teeth whitening and mouthguards
- Patients undergoing treatment for dentures will be asked for an equal payment for each stage of their denture, paid in advance of their next appointment.
This policy is not intended to cause any offence and as always, we endeavour to work with patients and support them where possible.
Patients on our care plan will continue to be able to schedule appointments without leaving a deposit however, we will be monitoring any late cancellations and failed appointments. Whilst, at this stage, we have no intention of charging our plan patients for missed or cancelled appointments with short notice, based on an audit of 2023, we have decided that you may forfeit your routine appointments i.e. Exam and Hygiene for this period. You will of course have the flexibility to rebook and pay for your essential routine appointments which we would strongly encourage rather than miss them completely.
In 2023, we had 74 hours of failed appointments, this does not include patients that cancelled with short notice leaving us unable to offer the appointment to another patient. That is almost two weeks where one dentist didn’t see any patients which would mean, didn’t receive any income.
If a payment cannot be made because the patient does not have a card or means to pay, unfortunately, we will be unable to schedule an appointment. Having tested this arrangement where we agree to call the patient at a later date and time; it doesn’t work and creates additional work for our already very busy receptionist.
Whilst we have tried to cover most scenarios in our email, there will inevitably be situations that we have not covered. When this happens, the rule of thumb will be, that a deposit, as a minimum must be taken when booking your next appointment.
The purpose of this policy is not to penalise patients who for genuine reasons need to rearrange at short notice or miss their appointment. We understand that things happen and often, beyond our control. We will continue to assess each patient’s situation before charging them for the wasted surgery time and look at previous history too.
- Failed to attend and short notice cancellations will be charged at £1 per minute.
We are always open to feedback and would like to hear from anyone who would like to discuss this. Matter further or, has an alternative suggestion to reduce wasted surgery time.
Thank you all for your continued support – we are extremely grateful.