Failed Appointment and Cancellation Policy

It is the aim of this practice to provide quality dental care to our patients on schedule and to use clinical time effectively. To achieve this aim, we have a Failed appointment / Cancellation policy.

NHS Patients

Although we understand that things happen and schedules do change, we ask that you provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice for any appointment changes. Missed appointments prevent us from scheduling another patient that could benefit from our services. We schedule individual time with each patient to allow us to deliver the quality, personal care that every patient deserves.

If you fail to attend or cancel late within 24 hours for an NHS appointment on more than one occasion in a 1-year period, then no further NHS appointments will be offered. If you are a new patient who fails to attend your initial appointment or cancel late within 24 hours, you will not be offered any further NHS appointments.

This is in line with the NHS Choices website that states, ‘Your dentist can terminate your treatment if you miss your appointment without letting the dental practice know. You may then need to pay again for a new course of treatment. While surgeries can’t charge you for not turning up, NHS England has the right to ask you to find another dental practice if you continue to miss appointments’

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

Private and Membership Plan Appointments

We require at least 48 hours’ notice to cancel an appointment for private or membership plan treatment.

Membership Plan Appointments

We do not require a deposit for membership plan appointments, however, if you fail to attend or cancel with less than 48 hours’ notice then the appointment will be lost. This means that if you wish to rebook the lost appointment, you will need to pay the fee for this. Alternatively, you can wait for your next scheduled plan appointment.

Private Appointments / Treatment

If you are registered at the practice on a pay as you go basis then any exam appointments would need to be paid in full on booking, if you fail to attend or cancel with less than the required 48 hours’ notice, the appointment fee would be lost.

You are required to pay a deposit when booking an appointment for private treatment, including hygiene. The deposit is linked to the appointment duration and is calculated at £2 per minute. Deposits are non-refundable should you not give the practice 48 hours’ notice. This also applies if you are late to an appointment or fail to attend.

Saturday Hygiene Appointments

Due to a high rate of failed appointments and high running costs, Saturday hygiene appointments are payable in full on booking. If you fail to attend a private hygiene appointment on a Saturday, then you would lose the appointment fee that has been paid. If you cancel the appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice, a charge would be made. This would be based on the appointment duration and calculated at £2 per minute and would be deducted from the appointment fee that has been paid.

Private Patients who Fail to Attend on 3 occasions will not be seen again at the practice.

Only in very exceptional circumstance do the above rules not apply, but this is at the discretion of the treating Dentist or Management. This is to ensure fairness to our patients & staff.

Rescheduling or delay of appointments by the Practice

We will only reschedule or delay a patient’s appointment in unavoidable circumstances, in such cases we will:

  • Contact you as soon as we are aware of the need to reschedule or delay and explain the reason why
  • At the time of contact we will offer the earliest next available appointment
  • If you are unable to commit to an appointment at that contact, then we will ask you to contact us and we will book a new appointment at the earliest convenience.


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.


E-mail and text reminders are automatically generated by our computer system according to the appointments each patient has made. An email reminder will be sent 5 days and 2 days before any appointment. Patients who have not provided an email address, but do have a mobile number on the system, will receive a text reminder and patients are requested to inform the practice of any changes to their contact details. This service will operate for patients who have correctly completed their email address and mobile phone numbers. Patients do need to keep us informed of any changes to these details to ensure reminders are sent correctly.

Please note, appointment reminders are provided out of courtesy, not a necessity. It is a patient’s responsibility to turn up on time for an appointment. Failure of the reminder system for any reason is not a sufficient reason for failing to attend or turning up late for an appointment.

Refusal of Treatment

We reserve the right to refuse treatment where our clinicians deem it appropriate for any reason and the clinician’s decision is final in this regard.

Please note this policy does not apply to children, for anyone under the age of 18 we have a separate ‘Was Not Brought Policy’.

Approved by Ms Emma Christy, Practice Manager, Thornley Park Dental

Published: 5/1/2024