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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 75271
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My daughter is a student and she is profoundly deaf without

Customer Question

My daughter is a student and she is profoundly deaf without speech and at a dental appointment she was asked to fill in a form, she wrote that she is a student and is in receipt of Personal Independence Payments benefit. The dentist receptionist helped her to fill in as English is not her language - she uses British Sign Language and there were no sign language interpreter - the dentist never book them for appointments. Now she has been fined £100 plus the dental appointment fee. My wife tried to phone and they refused to accept a phone call from a third party and asked her to phone even after being told she is profoundly deaf and unable to use the phone. Now the fine is up to £150 and the MP is now in purdah period and unable to help - we feel that the NHS Dental service is ignoring all our pleas even after we paid the dental appointment fee as this is a genuine mistake. What do we do next as they are threatening to add more money the longer the fine is unpaid.
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Greenwich in London
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: We tried to phone them - refused, emailed them, got a letter asking for medical verification - we told them that she is in receipt of PIP - no go,
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes - she is studying in a French University so is not easy to contact direct. She has signed a letter agreeing that I, her father, can act on her behalf as advised by the person who refused to accept the phone call.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hello I have been waiting for a while - I have to go now.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 days ago.

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is Jo C, I’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 days ago.

I am very sorry but she is liable I’m afraid. Come what may, she made an appointment and didn’t attend. I realise that might of been a genuine error but that is not a defence. This is their current policy as NHS placements are at a premium And ultimately dentist lose money if you don’t attend. I’m afraid that the fact that she may use British sign language doesn’t really explain why the written confirmation was not understood. English not being her first language is similarly a nonissue given that she is studying presumably in English since it is in the UK. It isn’t ultimately I defence anyway but is not really a credible one here even if it were. I would have told you to appeal anyway to see whether or not They could be persuaded to show mercy but at this stage clearly they cannot.

 

I’m very sorry but that is the reality.

 

Can I clarify anything for you?

 

Jo

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I'm sorry as I think that we were not clear. She attended, had her treatment. Was told, she thought as there were no interpreters present, that her benefit meant she was exempt and the dental receptionist told her to sign. It was found that she wasn't.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I am deaf so can't phone you.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 days ago.

Oh I see. This isn’t a fine for non-attendance then. They are entitled to do that. I’m afraid though that this is even worse news. Come what may, she has to pay for the service she has had. Her benefits do not cover it.