Cancellation policy reminder
Please read the following carefully. By continuing with sessions or bookings you accept and agree to adhere to this policy. REVISED 31.03.2021. Corrections & Revisions to simplify and shorten, Sept 2019. Any additional information of a clarification only nature is added in square brackets [ ] .
[Please note that we have laid out this information in the interests of clarity, and enabling informed consent. It may seem complicated, but the information below answers the actual issues and questions that have arisen in practice since 1993]
Specific COVID-19 information HERE
Please remember that professional therapists like myself have 3-4 years post graduate training and significant training, accreditation and re-accreditation costs, In my case (as of 2019), I have 26 years work experience, have strict supervision and continuous professional development requirements, insurance requirements, but have NO FUNDING from the state. We are not part of the “gig” economy, we are licensed healthcare professionals under the PSA AR scheme and professional registrations. [ I have also recently invested in multiple expert specialism certifications which are only available to experienced licensed professionals ]. Therefore some employment certainty is required because of the ongoing overheads required to maintain a healthcare service. Most of our clinic contracts require us to book slots up to 6 months in advance. Also for every clinical face to face hour, we have substantial preparation and after care time to complete unpaid. We also regularly turn away clients and refer them elsewhere because of being full and having a waiting list, therefore we can not afford to leave slots unfilled. Appointments are healthcare appointments with a registered professional healthcare provider. Sporadic attendance is not clinically appropriate and neither provides security for the practitioner, nor likelihood of positive clinical progress for the client.
Emergency cancellation is an exception e.g. red weather warnings, serious hospital admission illnesses, notifiable disease, being seriously ill with COVID-19, and a few other situations listed in the Q&A section below.
Remember that as long as you give the minimum warning time,
you can exit this agreement and therapy at any time. With less than 7 days notice you can exit therapy but you will need to pay the remaining fee.
- Once you enter into therapy you will agree a weekly or fortnightly slot which you are expected to attend regularly. This is your time to attend or not, but you will need to pay for it either way. In offering it to you, we are ourselves taking on the cost of that room hire and blocking that space from being offered to other clients on our waiting list. You are therefore agreeing to responsible for that regular slot and to retain that slot booking.
- Each year we allow 4-6 weeks “free” holiday slots since we recognise that clients need to get away and have a break. Xmas has available slots, but time off is of course allowed. Any other sessions you cancel or fail to attend must be paid for. Whether you choose to attend or not, this is your time. You must provide at least the 7 days notice period for this.
- Please ensure that if notifying in session, either confirm by email that day, or ensure the change is made to google calendar there and then in the session. Verbal mention without action or confirmation is not enough.
- Clients must settle missed sessions or sessions with before being offered another session. You accept that you will be subject to legal methods of debt retrieval if you fail to pay. We will only do this as a last resort (after negotiation and discussion). This is however not a bluff. Please understand that psychology service or not, you are entering into a real contract from a professional service.
If you fail to honour session fees, or this arrangement by disrespecting or breaking the simple premise of this being a reserved session that you agree to personally or virtually attend and pay for, or if it becomes clinically inappropriate for you to have further therapy, we will not be able to offer further sessions, and we will refer you back to your GP, or to another service if we are aware of one that suits.
- If on your regular day you would like a later or earlier time, or perhaps it might suit the therapist to have an earlier or later time, then this can be agreed without issue if it suits both parties. If either party, client or therapist is not willing to adjust the time, then the initially agreed time will be contractually binding. For example if the therapist asks you if you might attend an hour earlier, you may refuse. If you ask for a later slot and this is not possible, you are liable for the existing one.
- Unless you are having agreed maintenance “check up” sessions, it is expected that you will attend on an agreed regular basis. This may be weekly, fortnightly, sometimes twice per week. Some conditions such as anger management are suited to maintenance sessions earlier than others in the therapy process. If you do not maintain regular attendance, you will be discharged back to the care of your GP. We maintain some “floating slots” but these are for persons working shifts or working away (Oil rigs, Armed Forces etc) and are limited. This is because without regular attendance it is not clinically appropriate to offer support, knowing that fragmented attendance will prevent effectiveness.
- If two sessions are missed without communication, then it will be assumed that the client has withdrawn from therapy and referred themselves back to their medical care. This also constitutes failure to adhere to the care plan, meaning session slot(s) will be cancelled.
- Private clients will be required to pay the fee for the initial assessment session in advance via PayPal or BACS, and the fee will then be subject to this policy. If the practitioner has to cancel you will be refunded in full.
- If at any time the therapist fails to be present due to illness etc, obviously you will not be charged (or will be refunded in full if advance payment was received). You will also receive 7 days notice of any plans by the therapist to take a holiday or trip away, and this will be also capped at 4 weeks per year.
- Some dates are not available because of clinics being closed for periods like Xmas or for maintenance. These dates fall outside the restrictions for client and therapist alike and are not charged for.
- Some dates will become available because as a specialist Stuart is required to complete a very high number of continuous professional development hours of training every year. As many as possible of these are completed out of hours. However the best training is by live conference, and therefore there will be occasions that Stuart has to cancel therapy to attend this mandatory advanced update training. Obviously you are not charged for this missed appointment time.
- If you turn up late, please be aware, that if you have provided warning, we will tolerate 5 mins lateness. If you let us know that you are running late by SMS or email, then we will accommodate a part session where possible. [It is vital that we know you are running late since in our premises Stuart needs to greet you in reception, and due to COVID-19 this area must not have people lingering due to social distancing and Health and Safety requirements. By letting Stuart know you are running late, he can greet you as you arrive instead]. Otherwise after 5 mins your session is missed and is still chargeable. You must organise yourself to attend on time and treat your session with proper respect. Once these periods have passed, it is not possible for your therapist to provide the proper session, because of your lateness. Sessions are HEALTHCARE sessions and should be treated as such.
- YOU are entering into a legally binding contract to purchase a service according to the rules outlined. We have tried to make these fair. You are entering this with the declaration of having health issues, and therefore can not use those issues as any kind of excuse for breaking contract. If your health is too severe to attend sessions, you should not be booking them.
- Clients are expected to ensure they know the location, route and time needed to attend the scheduled appointment at least 7 days before their due session. If contacted at least the day before the due session, practitioners will provide the address and details again. It may not be possible to contact the practitioner on the same day as the appointment due to travel, appointments or other commitments and it is the responsibility of the client to know in advance. ( Non contractually binding hint: Information file 1 usually provides all the details you require via weblink. You may also have the information on your gcal invite). [For virtual sessions the google meetings link is on the calendar invite and emails, unique to each meeting]
- It is YOUR responsibility to check where you are going, how much it will cost, what you need to bring and how to get there on time. Do so at least 7 days before your appointment, giving the practitioner time to respond and clarify.
- We sympathise that unexpected events like illness can sometimes mean being unable to give the required warning period, however we can not accept responsibility for such events on your behalf, or the resultant costs to us from your non attendance. Our policy ensures that we can maintain our fees at their existing levels for the benefit of all our clients. Although it is of course unpleasant to become ill and miss something you have paid for, this is not in any way the problem of the seller (us). [By the way, you can always opt for a virtual session instead of a face to face session if you are unwell] For COVID 19 specific information see HERE
- Practitioner illness. From time to time like anyone, your practitioner may become unwell. They will assess their fitness to practice and decide whether to cancel, or go online. You agree to accept online substitution for face to face sessions for occasional events where your practitioner may not attend because of the risk of infection. Where your practitioner can not attend, any advance payment will be caried over to pay for your next session. You agree that this is acceptable and although inconvenient for everyone, it is a normal human event.
- Please ensure that the reminders of appointments are on your white list of emails. Our system sends out reminders in advance of sessions as a memory jogger for you, but it is up to you to remember your appointment times.
- Post COVID: As we move into a post COVID-19 world, it is very important to learn the lessons. One of these is that virtual meetings are fine as a substitute for other face to face meetings when needed. You agree to enable face to face sessions as a back up to physical sessions as and when required by circumstances. It is not OK to be unwilling to use online services by this point in time, we all have use of headphones, blue tooth etc. EXCEPTION: if domestic violence applies.
- Flu, and other transmissable diseases.
If you or the practitioner have contracted flu, a gastro intestinal virus or other transmissable disease, DO NOT attend in person. This is what the virtual service is for. Obey the normal rule of 7 days or until symptoms cease, or other advice for specific viruses.
Cancellation should be by SMS or by email (not phone call or voice message) . 07341 968242, email@example.com
Questions and Answers on the above to help clarify
Q What if I come down with flu?
A Sorry but we are not responsible for this, you will be charged. Only exception is if you are admitted to hospital and are therefore seriously ill. Just go online that day. [By the way, you can always opt for a virtual session instead of a face to face session if you are unwell]
Q What if I am taken into hospital or have a serious illness?
A Clearly this means that your therapy will need to be suspended so no, you will not be charged.
Q What if a loved one such as a family member or partner is rushed into hospital the night before or the same day as the session?
A Under such extreme conditions we of course will waive the fee, but only for that session. You will be expected to organise attendance for your other sessions or suspend therapy.
Q What if I come down with a disease (e.g. swine flu) where I am quarantined?
A Where this is a “risk to life” situation where you are seriously ill, you will not be charged. Where you are simply quarantined as a precaution and are not ill / seriously ill, then you will be offered a virtual session via Doxy or Zoom instead of physical attendance (if you decline this then you will be charged). [In other words if you are really ill with Covid etc, then no charge. If you are just taking the precaution of resting, then use the virtual session option] For COVID 19 specific information see HERE
Q I am feeling too anxious to attend my session?
A Your attendance is to help with your mental health wellbeing and you may not use your mental health state as a reason for non attendance. If you are too anxious to attend sessions, you should not commence private talking therapy treatment and instead should attend NHS crisis care. A compromise that is available on some days is to call in by Skype. If there is a possibility that you may need to do this, discuss it at your initial assessment so that you can be offered sessions on a day that alternative skype sessions are possible. [Do not forget that you can always use virtual sessions, and this may make things easier on bad days. Please give your therapist at least 24 hours warning of the session needing to be virtual. With less than 24 hours warning we will try to accomodate if possible, but we may not be able to do so, in which case you will be liable for a missed session].
Q What if I can not face virtual sessions and I need to go virtual?
A Sorry, but if you are that dysregulated and emotionally fragile then you are not suitable.
Q What if my child care lets me down at the last minute?
A Sorry but we are not responsible for this, you will be charged.
Q What if I work shifts, work away or travel on business?
A This needs to be discussed at the initial assessment and a plan developed to enable a “work around”. A verbal agreement will be discussed and agreed where possible to accommodate you. You must however declare this at the initial assessment, or as soon as it becomes an issue (e.g. change of jobs).
Q What if I am called into work unexpectedly?
A Sorry, but we are not responsible for this, you will be charged. Please note that with a PSA AR registered healthcare practitioner, your therapist meeting therefore is a healthcare appointment, and your employer should allow you time off to attend.
Q What if I really fancy a holiday away?
A Holidays are therapeutic and all we ask is that you give the required warning period. You get 4-6 holiday slots per year without charge, as long as they are booked in advance. Less than the required warning means you will be charged. Any further missed sessions will be charged for. [If you have already committed to more than 4 weeks, then let the therapist know at the initial assessment so that this can be accomodated].
Q What if I get stranded somewhere away from home and can not attend in time?
A Sorry but we are not responsible for this, you will be charged.
Q What if I become aware of a situation where I might not be able to attend, such as a operation at short notice, or some other vital situation looming in the near future?
A If you make the therapist aware of such a circumstance, then this can be negotiated so that you are not charged. This is by verbal agreement with the therapist on a case by case basis. Examples often include visa issues for foreign students and operations for the client or a cared for person.
Q What if a cared for person in my care becomes ill with less than the required warning period?
A Sorry but we are not responsible for this, you will be charged.
Q What if I fancy going away, attending something else?
A This is for you to decide in terms of priorities. If you have used up your holiday slots, and or if there is not 7 days warning, then you must pay for your therapy slot.
Q I thought I had an appointment but you were not the / you were with someone else!
A If your appointment is not reflected in the Google Cal system, and is not otherwise confirmed by private message (SMS / email) then you do not have an appointment.
Do you have any sensible questions we should answer here? We strive to balance compassion with boundaries of responsibility and therefore we will consider cases on merit.
On behalf of Scotlandtherapy Partners