"Had to pay for treatment before being seen"

About: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

(as a friend),

My friend had toothache at a weekend. She felt unable to wait until the dentist opened on the Monday, so went to a Walk In Centre. She was shocked to find (as am I) that she had to agree to pay £18. 50. The staff did not even know what her problem was by then.

I have used the this walk in centre and another in Nottingham in the past. Money has never been mentioned.

Can you please tell me the rules and regulations around the use of such centres in relation to the (supposedly) free at point of need NHS? As my friend and I said, what would happen to people who could not pay the fee asked for? (My friend, luckily, could).

Also, I thought the Walk In Centres were meant to be an alternative to calling on GPs for appointments-so why the charge?

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