This policy sets out guidance for collecting fees (payments) from patients to ensure that there is no ambiguity for either party concerned, our patients as well as Practice personnel, and how this is managed by the Practice.
The Practice aims to make the payment of fees as straightforward as possible; patients are usually asked to pay a proportion of their treatment fee at each visit. Alternatively, a deposit prior to, or on commencement of treatment, with the balance being paid on completion of treatment is acceptable. In the absence of any prior written agreement to the contrary, payment for treatment is requested at each appointment.
From the 5th March 2018, the Practice will be taking payments of all band 1 (examinations, ICM and emergency appointments) visits prior to the commencement of the appointment.
The Practice provides leaflets and clearly displays information for patients regarding NHS fees in both of the waiting rooms; further information can also be found on the Practice website. All fee paying NHS patients will be asked to pay fees in full on completion of each course of treatment. A written estimate and treatment plan will be provided for all patients having NHS treatment band 2 or above.
Private patients are provided with detailed written estimates at the end of their assessment appointment, for any treatment planned, in order to ensure that they are fully aware of the treatment being discussed and the cost of the treatment.
The Practice also sees payment scheme (Practice Plan and Denplan) patients who pay regular fees to those private plan companies – which they are notified of in advance – for their dental exams and hygienist appointments. They are given treatment plans and estimates for additional appointment as required.
Methods of Payment
We offer patients a range of payment options depending on their needs; these include cash, debit and credit cards.
On the 30th June 2011 – acting on advice from our Customer Relationship Manager at RBS – we withdrew personal cheques as a standard method of payment for treatment. Cheques are now only accepted in exceptional circumstances – for example when prior agreement has been reached with the treating dentist – and then only for private patients.
As noted earlier private patients may either “pay as you go” or join one of the private dental care schemes, such as Practice Plan or Denplan; the fees for these plans are paid by the patient each month by direct debit.
Payment on Account
The Practice does not accept payment on account for NHS patients, as this poses an unnecessary liability to the Practice.
The only exception is NHS patients who wish to pay for their band 2/3 fee having booked – but preferably started – their course of treatment.
Private patients who wish to make payments on account for forthcoming treatment may do so, but only when prior agreement has been reached with the treating dentist.
Regular monthly reports will be run by the Management Team to ensure that there are no substantial credits on accounts.
In the event that the patient does not make a payment on completion of their treatment – and consequently their account has an outstanding debt which has not been paid – the Practice will attempt to contact them to recover these fees.
Refer to the Credit Control Policy and Credit Control procedure for further details.