Biting Costs

[Photograph of notice of charges for missed dental appointments]AT A VISIT TO THE DENTIST, I WAS AMAZED TO SEE THE FOLLOWING NOTICE ON THE WALL:

Click on the picture to the right to enlarge the image taken with my camera-phone.

It reads:

“DUE TO PRESSURE ON OUR
APPOINTMENT LIST THERE WILL NOW
BE A CHARGE FOR PATIENTS WHO
FAIL TO ATTEND THEIR
APPOINTMENTS WITHOUT DUE NOTICE
– THIS WILL BE CHARGED AT £60 PER
HOUR OR PRO RATA”

You may have noticed the bad English, but I spotted the sixty quid per hour penalty rate. This is serious money — does that include check-ups? what about cleaning?

To use “Pro Rata” does not help matters in my opinion.

I take it to mean that if you are five minutes late for your appointment, then you will be charged that five-minute proportion of the sixty quid/ hour charge — which is a fiver (it is a pound a minute charge).

Now, I don’t know about you, but I ALWAYS have to wait in the appropriately-named waiting room, even if I arrive bang on-time for my appointment.  So, if I arrive five minutes late, and I am placed for 10 minutes in the waiting room, what will happen?

Why can’t I charge the dentist for his lateness?  If my appointment is for 10am, and I arrive five minutes early, I ought to be seen at 10am.  If I am kept waiting, I would reasonably expect some reciprocity — perhaps on a pro rata basis?

Things are getting worse when National Health Service Dentists feel that they can get away with this sort of thing — and to add insult to injury, the notice is contained within a golden frame behind glass, and soundly mounted on the wall. This dentist must have a lot of free time — perhaps occasioned by too many missed appointments?

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