United Kingdom

Dentist is slammed for charging patients £5 for face masks while BANNING them from using their own

A dental surgery has been accused of 'profiting' after forcing patients to buy face masks and BANNING them from bringing their own.

The move has been branded 'disgraceful' by angry patients, who were told they could not wear their own masks for hygine reasons. 

Instead they were reportedly told when making an appointment that they would have to purchase on at the surgery instead.  

Guildhall Dental in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, were slammed after selling masks to patients for £5 and banning them from using their own for 'hygine reasons'

Kevin Seggie, 58, said he was ‘completely outraged’ after his last two visits to Guildhall Dental, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. 

“It just disgraceful,” said Mr Seggie, who lives in nearby Lawshall.

“I have been going to this surgery for more than 10 years but I won’t be going back.

“I was told I couldn’t bring my own face mask for hygiene reasons, and had to buy one of theirs, as they needed to make sure it was clean and new.

Faith Phillips, practice manager at Guildhall Dental, said they were not profiting off the masks and had introduced the temporary measure to cover spiralling costs of PPE

“The masks I have are exactly the same and I got 100 of them for £16. Charging £5 each is just profiteering when they cost just 16p.”

But the dentist surgery claims they are making no profits off the personal protective equipment (PPE), saying it reflects the rise in prices of the in demand products. 

Mr Seggie made two visits to the dentist in the past month first for a check-up and a second to see the hygienist.

After his temperature was taken at the door he was sold a mask to wear in the waiting room.

“I was only waiting five minutes so that works out at £1 a minute,” added Mr Seggie.

“I am on a dental plan and no doubt this will be added to that. Other private patients have the cost added to the bill, I believe.

“I have around four dental visits a year and so that is £20. It doesn’t sound a lot but it is the principle as the dentist is making money out of coronavirus.”

Mr Seggie says he has also contacted Citizens Advice and Tradings Standards about the mask sales.

A sign on Guildhall Dental's Facebook page outlines how they are keeping patients safe and says patients will be 'offered hand sanitiser and a mask to wear' at appointments, but does not mention the £5 charge

Faith Phillips, practice manager at Guildhall Dental, said the charge for masks was a temporary measure in a bid to cover costs during lockdown measures.

She said: “The purpose of PPE is to protect both patients and the dental team from possible transmission of Covid-19.

“We are hopeful that this will only be for a few months but we need to comply with instruction from Public Health England as to what is required to allow us to treat our patients. 

'This PPE includes respirator masks, surgical gowns and visors.

“Given the current high demand for PPE and problems with supply, costs have risen very sharply, for example, surgical masks are now selling for 20-times their pre-Covid prices.

“We are supplying these surgical masks to all patients and the £5 charge is to contribute towards the significantly increased prices across a number of items used to keep our staff safe, as well as patients. We are making no profit on them.

“We are hopeful that as supplies of PPE increase we will be able to reduce the level of charge and once the risk of Covid-19 transmission falls, eliminate it altogether.”

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