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Rogers Rants - Part 4
Our client was very upset, following a letter from the NHS Dental Services. He recently had to go to her Dentist with toothache, and had treatment costing £219.00. Prior to the appointment for the treatment, he showed his Employment and Support Allowance award letter to the dental receptionist, and asked if it allowed him to have free dental treatment, and was told that yes it does, and the appointment was made.
He did not know there was a difference between the benefits you receive with Contribution based and Income based ESA. In fact he was in receipt of contribution based ESA and was not automatically entitled to free dental care. He has now received a bill for £319, £219 for the treatment and £100 penalty charge.
Our advisor spoke to the NHS Dental Services and based on the information that we supplied the £100 charge has been cancelled but he is still left with a bill of £219 which he cannot afford and would not have agreed to if he had known.
With the help of our advisor he has now made an application for help (HC1 form) with dental charges which based on his low income should entitle him to most if not all of the cost being paid.
Obviously people who are not entitled to free dental care should not expect not to pay but the staff at dental surgeries need to be better trained. If the staff had told him about the HC1 form he could have applied before committing to the treatment or looked for other ways to get help.
We have had similar problems with doctors assuming that their patients will get free prescriptions and whilst it is not the responsibility of the staff to police access to NHS services it is not acceptable for them to mislead them into getting large bills.