Practice Policies

Every year we lose valuable surgery time because of patients failing to attend their appointments or cancelling at short notice. This makes it more difficult for us to accommodate our patients in need of urgent treatment, for existing patients to book appointments and for new patients to register here. It also cost the surgery a considerable amount of money.

NHS Patients

Under NHS regulations, we are unable to charge NHS patients who fail to attend for their appointments or who cancel at short notice (less than 24 hours’ notice is insufficient notice).

Repeat Fail To Attend or Short Notice Cancellation

A patient who repeatidly fails to attend appointments or cancels at short notice, will be sent correspondence, warning them that they will lose their NHS entitlement here.

In the event that a further appointment is missed or cancelled at short notice within this 3-year period, we will withdraw the offer of NHS treatment at this practice.

2 Year Period

Additionally, anyone who does not attend the practice for a check-up within a 2 year period will no longer be registered. If a patient fails to attend an appointment or cancels an appointment, no further appointments will be made until the patient has re-booked. It is the responsibility of the patient to ensure they attend the practice a minimum of every 2 years.


The practice do send out check-up appointments via SMS and/or E-mail (also by letter if you have no mobile or email address) however it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure they attend the practice a minimum of every 2 years.

Arriving Late

As with all medical facilities, we aim to see our patients on time but due to the nature of health care, this is not always possible. However, if a patient turns up late for their appointment so that treatment cannot be carried out, this will be regarded as failing to attend. It is the responsibilty of the patient to re-book the appointment or a checkup within a 2 year period from the last time they attended the practice.

New NHS Patients

We have had a very high percentage of new NHS patients, often whole families, failing to attend their appointments. New patients who fail to attend their first appointment or cancel it at short notice, will no longer been seen at this practice as NHS patients. Should they wish to remain a patient here, they will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list (providing the waiting list is open).

Text Reminders

Text reminders are available for all appointments on request. If we have your mobile phone number on file, a reminder text will be sent to you a few days before your appointment. All text messages sent by our system are logged when successfully sent. It is your responsibility to check your text messages and to ensure that we are informed of any changes to your mobile phone number. It will assume that you have received your reminder if it has been logged as successfully sent.

Please note, text messages are sent out of courtesy, not necessity. It is your responsibility to turn up on time for an appointment. Failure of the text messaging system for any reason is not sufficient reason for failing to attend or turning up too late for treatment.

This policy does not affect your ability to seek NHS care at another NHS practice.

Update Details

It is the responsibility of the patient to keep their contact details up to date so the practice is able to contact them. This includes home address, email adress and mobile number for each patient. Failure to do so could result in missed correspondence regarding appointments and registration status.

When will we not offer NHS care?

We can refuse to provide NHS dental care if:

  • The practice has no spare capacity or is trying to reduce a waiting time problem
  • A patient wishes to have a type of treatment not available within primary NHS dental care, for example: purely cosmetic treatments, certain types of non-essential crown and bridgework, dental implants, sports mouthguards
  • The practice is not able to provide the specialist care required, for example: orthodontics, sedation, domiciliary (home) visits. In these cases we will refer appropriately.
  • A patient has been violent or abusive to practice personnel (see violence and aggression policy).
  • A patient has a bad debt with the practice
  • A patient has failed to attend appointments
  • If the patient is late for their appointment

Your dentist will explain to you if any of your treatment can not be carried out under the NHS and will discuss the costs involved.

When the Practice cancels on the patient

BSDP reserves the right to cancel any appointment with more than 24 hours notice*

This will be done via phone call or SMS.

*When a dentist is absent through sickness any gaps in the remaining dentists appointment books will be reserved for emergency spaces. Patients will be called or an SMS sent to be informed that their dentist will not be able to see them on that day and another appointment will be made for another day, it is still the patients responsibilty to be seen within a 2 year period to remain registered. Any emergencies will still be seen.

*Appointments may be cancelled with less than 24 hours notice if there is a high demand for emergency appointments, as these take priority over check-up appointments.

All other practice policies are available on request