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Alton Dental is committed to ensuring that the best possible service is provided to all dental patients. As with many other dental surgeries, we are experiencing a high level of demand for our services. We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to get an appointment with a dentist however, one thing that makes this increasingly difficult to overcome is the problem of missed appointments i.e. FTA’s. It is disappointing when an appointment is not utilised when a patient does not turn up and has not contacted the Practice to cancel the appointment in order for it to be allocated to another patient.

Patient non-attendance at a booked appointment adversely impacts on practice staff and its patients
in the following manner:

– The FTA patient takes the appointment slot of another patient who could have attended.

–  Increases waiting time for appointments.

–  The time and personnel required to follow-up and rebook FTA Patients diverts Practice staff from
other duties and is therefore a waste of resources.

A FTA occurs when:

– An appointment is not attended;

– The Patient has not contacted the Practice in advance to cancel it.

– Where the cancellation is so late that it makes it impossible to allocate that time to another Patient who needs treatment.

AN FTA will be coded against the Patients records in the following manner:

– Should a Patient have FTA’d once within a 6-month period, they will be advised that the practice is
aware of this and subsequently reminded of the Practice FTA Policy when booking any future

– Following 2 FTA’s/SNC’s (short notice cancellations) within a 12-month period, a letter/email will be
issued and recorded on the Patient record, advising that they can no longer be seen as an NHS
patient and advising how they can access an NHS dentist and how to appeal if they feel they have
exceptional circumstances.

– If the FTA’s/SNC’s are outside the 12 month period, the same rule applies however the
deregistration would be issued after a 3rd strike.


Avoid Becoming an FTA;

If you cannot attend or no longer need an appointment, please let us know in advance.
We understand that mistakes do happen and that appointments can be forgotten or overlooked. In
such cases, the Practice will take into account the reason given by Patients. However repeated
offences are unacceptable.

Preference, of course, is for the Practice to know in advance so we can offer the appointments to
other Patients in need.

If you need to cancel an appointment you can do this in any one of the following ways:
(1) In person at the Reception Desk
(2) Telephone
(3) Email
(4) Website Enquiry

SNC’s (Short Notice Cancellations) 

A SNC is recorded if an appointment is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice.


Reducing FTA’s

As a Practice we are doing our utmost to reduce FTA’s as much as possible. We display our practice
FTA policy clearly at reception.

We are reminding patients of what our policy is and we believe that it is important to ensure it is
being enforced. Consistent application of the FTA policy by all Practice staff (clinical and non-clinical)
plays an important role in encouraging patients to assist in ensuring that services are managed as
efficiently as possible.

We will always provide written appointment confirmation for Patients upon booking; this also contains our telephone number and email should patients need to
If you make an appointment over the phone, we still strongly suggest that patients’ record/document
the date and time in a way that can be easily accessed to them – in a diary, on a calendar or on a mobile phone.

Our staff are trained to repeat all appointment details and
clarify understanding with Patients at the time of making the appointment.

If we have your consent and mobile phone number we will aim to send you a text message or email
reminder of your appointment and details of how to cancel this if you need to.

Every effort will be made to communicate effectively with all patients including those with language,
literacy and vision difficulties. The Practice will exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to avoid
disadvantaging Patients in the case of genuine hardship, misunderstandings and other unavoidable

Hygiene Appointment FTA/SNC’s

Failure to provide us with at least 24 hours advance notice or failure to attend for a scheduled
appointment will result in a cancellation or no-show fee. This will equate to £30 for a 30 minute
Hygiene appointment or £50 for a 1 hour Hygiene appointment.

It is understandable that sometimes cancellations cannot be helped due to
illness or emergency and discretion may be used if there is a good reason for the appointment being
missed. If an appointment is cancelled within the same treatment session you are due to be seen, it
will be deemed as a fail to attend. The practice cannot be responsible for individual travel
arrangements and appointments missed due to transport problems or running late due to traffic will
still incur a fee. If you are sick and cannot attend on the day of your appointment, please call as soon
as possible in the morning or email us to avoid a fee for a late cancellation.

It is the Patient’s responsibility to:

– Advise the Practice of any change to their contact details

– Attend their arranged clinic appointment or reschedule with reasonable advanced notice.

To help us improve the system and make more appointments available for Patients to book
routinely, please adhere to our Practice Policy.

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