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by Tom Marshall
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Dentists in Islington could be ripping off patients by charging for treatments that should be free, a charity warns.
Voluntary Action Islington (VAI) fears dentists are telling residents to pay up to £50 for services that should be available with a standard NHS check-up at no extra cost.
The charity, based in Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, is particularly concerned people are being misled into paying to see hygienists – without being told this should be included under the standard £17.20 check up fee with no further charge.
It says it has gathered anecdotal evidence of this and is urging others who feel they have overpaid to come forward.
Emma Whitby of VAI, which runs Islington LINk, a group investigating health care, said: “Unfortunately we think it’s a problem.
“A hygienist should perform a basic scale and polish on the £17.20 check-up cost. It’s not quite as extensive as a full £50 appointment, but patients are not told they have that choice. We’re worried about this, it’s quite possible lots of people are getting bad advice.”
Ms Whitby says she has spoken to patients who have been told to pay for hygienists. She also said there is an issue with people being asked to pay more than once if they need multiple fillings – which is against Department of Health guidelines.
She is asking people who have had similar experiences to contact her on email@example.com or 020 7832 5814.