NHS Shetland has warned it may consider charging patients for missed dental appointments, after figures showed over 650 people failed to turn up for treatment in just six months.
The local health service says that, between 1st January and 30th May, care at 658 appointments with NHS Shetland’s dental service was wasted due to patients failing to turn up.
This amounts to a total of 328 hours and 10 minutes of clinical time, which was lost at NHS Shetland sites during this period alone.
Approximately 44 days were lost in total – this is equivalent to 722 fillings or 361 root canal treatments.
Director of dentistry at NHS Shetland, Antony Visocchi, said: “The number of patients not attending appointments is a serious problem for the NHS as a whole and in Shetland, we know we could offer those appointments to other patients.
“Despite the lifting of Covid restrictions, as a service, we are still working under a great deal of pressure which is why avoiding missed appointment is so important.
“Unless we see the failures to attend decrease, we will have little choice but to consider the introduction of charges for missed appointments.
“This is a step we are reluctant to take so we would encourage patients to update us as soon as possible if a cancellation needs to be made.”