Sunday, January 17, 2010

Curse of the Control Freak Dentist

I have been bemused this week by the culmination of a saga which could have been resolve in 5 minutes over 2 months ago if our dentist's reception staff had been less control freaky in their approach.

We registered with a local NHS practice when we moved back here in 2000. We were somewhat annoyed when they went private a few years ago, especially when they wrote to us saying that unless at least one of us signed up to their plan, they wouldn't take our daughter as an NHS patient. They very quickly retracted that, but still. We decided to sign up as we had no chance of finding another NHS dentist and we felt that even if there were NHS places available, we could afford to pay and it wasn't fair of us to take a space from someone who would really struggle to afford private care. Heaven knows, though, what would happen if we needed major treatment. There is simply no way we could afford that. We've been lucky so far.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, my husband was asked at a routine appointment to sign a new direct debit form as they were changing their provider to someone else. Bob, bless him, knows precious little about our finances, so he said he'd take the form home and get me to fill it in. They literally wouldn't let him out of the premises with the form because, they said, it wouldn't come back. Anyway, he said that he didn't have the details on him but he'd sort it out the next time he was in.

A few weeks later, he went for his next appointment and again the form was mentioned. He again said he didn't have the details and asked to take it home to me. It didn't occur to him that all the info he needed was on his bank card which was in his wallet. Nor did it occur to the staff at the practice when they took his payment.

Finally, when he went back to the surgery for his emergency treatment a few days later on Christmas Eve, they got their blessed form, which could easily have been one several weeks before, completed. Not without a phone call to me to confirm some details, but it was done.

Why am I telling you about this now? Because we got a letter this week from the surgery saying that one of the numbers relating to our account was wrong. I'd say it was a very obvious mistake on our part, because when I asked Bob to read the number from the card, he got it right. So now we have to go back there and do it all again. What a ridiculous palaver!

The moral of the story is that things get sorted quicker if you are not a control freak and you treat people like adults.

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