‘I think it’s disgusting’ – Sheffield dental surgery criticised after telling patients who get their care for free to pay for routine treatment
A Sheffield dental surgery has been criticised after a patient who gets his care for free was told he would have to pay to get a routine appointment.
Castle Dental Practice on City Road told the man they could no longer accept routine appointments from people who get their care for free, and will only take bookings from emergency or fee paying patients.
The man, who is a full-time carer for his wife and gets his treatments for free as he is on income support, said he simply can't afford even the £42 fee for a basic check-up.
But he also said that the decision would mean that potentially hundreds of people in the deprived S2 area of the city - including children - will be left without routine dental care for months at a time.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: “I think it is disgusting. Imagine what the dental problems round here will be like after all this.
“This is treatment that people are entitled to. They told me it was a coronavirus related decision but I think it is purely a business choice.”
Under current law in England, people who are entitled to free dental care include those under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education, and women who are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months.
Those being treated in hospital and people receiving low income benefits, or if you're under 20 and a dependent of someone receiving low income benefits, are also exempt.
The company which runs Castle Dental Practice, Dental Partners, said they were still accepting patients who got their care for free on an emergency basis, but were offering ‘private alternatives’ to those wanting routine appointments.
A spokesperson said: “The practice is currently working in accordance with the NHS Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in terms of providing patient care.
“We are providing care for patients with priority being given to those requiring emergency treatments which is in line with NHS guidance and the SOP.
“We are also offering patients the complete range of options in terms of accessing dental care one of which is to offer private alternatives.”