NHS Patient Information

New NHS Patients

Unfortunately we are currently at capacity for the number of NHS patients that we can see, so we are not accepting new patients under the NHS at this time. We will update this message if this changes in the future.

Keeping Your NHS Dental Place

Did you know that to keep your NHS dental place active at our practice you need to attend regularly? It is a good idea to book your next appointment before leaving the practice. Patients who do not return to the practice for two years lose their NHS place and become inactive. We do not routinely remind patients who do not have appointments booked that they are due for a visit.

What to do to Keep Your NHS Dental Place Active

Always attend any appointment booked or cancel the appointment more than 24 hours in advance.

Check & Update Your Contact Details

Be sure they are correct, especially your email address and mobile telephone number, if you have one. If you are caring for another person, then help them to keep up their place active too by tracking their appointments for them.

Use it, Don't Lose it

Once you become in-active, you are no longer able to receive NHS treatment at our practice. If you want to receive NHS treatment again, you will need to contact the NHS and join their waiting list. As NHS waiting lists are long, it may be some time before you can join another practice. Our recommendation is that you protect your active status here at Holsworthy NHS Dental Care.


Our recommendation is that you protect your active status by attending your appointments and booking your next appointment before you leave the practice.
  • Attend all your appointments or cancel well in advance.
  • Always book your next appointment before you leave the surgery.
  • Keep your contact details up to date.
  • Make sure you visit your dentist regularly (don’t leave it for longer than two years).

Dental Examinations & the COVID-19 Closure

The practice re-opened after we were closed by the government on 03.08.20 to see patients in an urgent or emergency dental situation.  We started seeing patients for routine examinations from October 2020 and by January 2021, dental examinations were easily booked. Anyone who left it until after January 2023 means you would have not attended for two years, meaning you are now in-active and have lost your NHS place.

Joining the Practice

Spaces at the practice on an NHS basis is subject to availability.

There are three stages to joining and becoming a member of the practice:

  1. Providing us with your details (name; address; date of birth, etc)
  2. Booking a new patient examination
  3. Attending for and completing your new patient examination with the Dentist

Both stages 1 and 2 can be done over the telephone. You’ll only become a member of the practice once you’ve completed a new patient examintation.

Please note: patients who only attend for emergency or casual treatment, including patients that are referred by the Devon Doctors Service; are not members of the practice.

Making an Appointment

If you would like to make an appointment, you can do so by contacting the practice on 01409 255525 or by popping in and speaking to the receptionist on the first floor.

You can express a preference about which dentist you would like to see and we do our best ensure that your request is met. However, understandably, this is not always possible. If you do have a preference of practitioner, please let us know when booking your appointment.

Because we are experiencing a high demand on NHS examination appointments, you may have to wait longer than normal or longer than your recommended recall. We apologise for this and are working very hard to catch-up, so the demand is met without a wait.

First Visit

We always advise that you arrive 10 minutes early for any dental appointment, this is especially important for your first visit.

Before seeing the dentist we will ask you to complete a confidential Medical History Form. The medical history form must be completed before the start of your appointment as the information provided may influence your care.

Also, if you pay for your NHS treatment we ask you pay before the start of your appointment (please see our NHS Fee Guide page for further details). We accept cash, debit cards and most credit cards, contactless payments accepted under £30.00.  Cheques and American Express are NOT accepted.

New Patient Examinations

The first appointment is really for introductions and for the dentist to listen to any concerns or special requirements that you may have. Within this appointment you can also expect the dentist to:

  • Take a full chart of your mouth including: all teeth and fillings present, the health of your gums and supporting bone
  • Take radiographs (x-rays), if necessary
  • Carry out a full oral cancer screening examination (repeated annually or sooner, if necessary)
  • Provide assessment and advice concerning your oral health

This initial appointment usually lasts around 15 minutes.

Medical History Forms & Medication Lists

A Medical History Form includes information about any conditions or special requirements you may have as well as any medication you are taking. It is important that we have a full and accurate list for any medications you may be taking, so please bring an up-to-date list showing names, dose and regularity of use.

If you would like one of our medical history forms emailed or posted to you before your appointment, please call our reception on 01409 255525.

Blood Thinning Medication

If you are taking any blood thinning medication (e.g. Warfarin), then it is important you bring your INR book. If you fail to do so, we may not be able to carry out the planned treatment.

Late Arrivals, Cancellations & Missed Appointments

In accordance with NHS England guidelines, the practice’s missed appointment policy is as follows:

So that we can concentrate on caring for our patients who cooperate with our appointment system, our policy is to remove patients from our books if they fail to attend or cancel two or more appointments without giving the required 24 hours notice.  

We choose to monitor this, taking into consideration and recording any extenuating circumstances.  This policy is supported by NHS England and our Local NHS Area Team, because wasting NHS time is frowned upon and will not be tolerated. We may still be able to offer private dental care, but will require a non-refundable deposit to make an appointment booking.

Late Arrivals

Whilst every effort is made to see all patients, our practice runs to a very tight schedule. If you arrive late for your allotted time, it will be regarded as a missed appointment and marked as ‘Failed to Attend’.

Late Cancellations

You should provide us with as much notice as possible if you have to change or cancel an appointment. We require, whenever possible, at least 24 hours notice. This enables us to reschedule our list and perhaps see someone in need of emergency treatment or urgent care. If an appointment is cancelled with less than the required 24 hours notice, it will be marked as a ‘Failed to Attend’.

Missed Appointments

Missing appointments wastes valuable time and resources, which are required for other patients. Missed appointments will be recorded as ‘Failed to Attend’.  If, for any reason, you miss an appointment, we may contact you by phone or letter to arrange a new one.  However, it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure a new appointment is arranged.

Accompanying an Under 16

All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by someone with ‘Parental Responsibility’, as treatment cannot be carried out without the expressed consent of an adult with these legal rights.

‘Parental Responsibility’ falls upon a person or persons that the law recognises as being able to legally consent on behalf of the minor. Siblings, grandparents, friends of the family etc are not able to consent, unless they have been awarded these rights through a legal route.

Safety in the Surgery

It is important to remember that while a dental surgery is designed to be as safe as possible, there are many potential hazards. With this in mind, we ask that you follow these suggestions to keep your child’s visit as safe as possible:

  • Keep any children that are not in the dental chair within arm’s reach. Do not allow your child to wander around the Surgery.
  • Do not let a child near the dental chair unless requested by the dentist.

We also advise that when coming to the dentist with children, there are at least two adults present. This allows one adult to supervise the child/children in the waiting room, while the other child or parent receives treatment.

Consideration for Other Practice Users

People within the practice may be anxious, in pain, receiving treatment, carrying out tasks or trying to communicate with a member of staff. With this in mind, we ask that:
  • Children remain close to an adult at all times and are prevented from running around the waiting room or up and down the stairs.
  • Noise is kept to a minimum out of respect for other practice users

NHS Guarantee

The NHS provides the following guarantee.

“If your NHS dental treatment fails within 12 months, your dentist should carry out any work needed to repair or redo the treatment free of charge. For example, if you have a filling that falls out six months later, your dentist should replace it for free. This also applies to appliances, such as braces. However, if you lose or damage an appliance, or if it needs replacing due to wear and tear, you will have to pay the full cost of replacing it. If your dental treatment does need repair work within 12 months, you should return to the same NHS dentist surgery that did the original work.”



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