Over 650 dental appointments lost due to patients failing to attend

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.”


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  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • July 13th, 2022 16:17

    These patients, who fail appointments, should and must be charged for. It is an act of utter selfishness to fail to attend an appointment, medical or dental. People are waiting to see a dentist, some wait in severe pain, some with undiagnosed malignant disease.
    The waiting lists are far too long and will only get longer if the selfish and the stupid fail their booked appointments. With mobile phones and internet available to all there is little excuse for not canceling an appointment. From my days in general practise it was always the same few who failed, it was that same few who made the most fuss when they had to wait to be seen. In private practice they were charged full fee or shown the door. The NHS will never reduce its waiting lists unless it does something similar with the selfish folk.

  • John Inkster

    • July 13th, 2022 16:54

    In my opinion there is no NHS dental service, compared to what we had as an NHS dental service for the last 40 years or so. The services was absolutely excellent up until the last few years. The NHS dental service has virtually collapsed in Shetland. No amount of fancy words and smiling faces will change how serious the situation has become. NHS dentist premises are locked up during the working day like gold bullion banks with all kinds of warning notices on the door. Appointments are cancelled with patients not being informed (I personally experienced). This gives me the impression that customers are not really welcome. It is very questionable how much actual checking up and repair work is going on compared to what was being done before. It is nearly impossible to get a check up or general repair work. Only if in pain will they try to see you. That has been my impression so far. In fact I would go so far as to say that of all services in Shetland, both private and public, nothing has fallen so far behind than NHS dentistry.


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