Email received from a concerned dental patient
“I hope that you don’t mind that I have sent you this email, but I really didn’t know who to ask about this, and would really appreciate your advice about something, please. Excuse me that it is a bit long-winded, but I will endeavour to explain my situation.
I am a family carer, and I care for 3 members of my family; for this reason, it is often quite difficult to put myself first, even when it comes to pre-booked appointments. I am an NHS patient and, until recently, I was undergoing treatment between my Dentist and the Hospital, as I am suffering drastic bone loss in my gums, and I am slowly losing my teeth. Unfortunately, due to my role as a carer I have had to cancel dental appointments on a few occasions, as something has happened with one of the people who I care for, where they have been unwell, etc. As I don’t have anyone to turn to for support at these times, I have had no alternative but to put whatever I have to do for myself on hold. As I cannot plan ahead for unforeseeable events like this, on two of the occasions, I have only been able to give them two and a half hours notice of cancellation.
Ultimately, I recently received a letter from my dental practice saying that they were ‘deregistering’ me for missing appointments, to make way for new patients. They argued that they cannot be expected to accept 2 hours notice, as it was not enough time to fit anyone else in the slot. As I already suffer with stress and anxiety, this has only added to my worries. I emailed the Practice Manager, explaining that I am a carer, but they wrote back to me basically saying that they are a ‘busy practice’ and they are not changing their mind.
I feel very strongly that I am being discriminated against because I am doing the job of being a carer, and have to put others before myself. I am at a real loss now as to what to do, because a temporary dental prosthesis has already been made for me, which was supposed to be fitted so that the hospital could see how I tolerate it (I suffer with globus hystericus) so that they could cut back on it’s size. Unfortunately, I now can’t go back to see my own Dentist, so don’t know what to do now!! Therefore, any advice that you could give me as to what, if anything, I can do about this (ie. If I can make a complaint to anyone) would be very much appreciated.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.