Regrettably we are having to stop taking cash payments at the Penicuik Podiatrist Clinic and over the next few months we are going to stop taking cash payments on home visits.
There are several reasons for this.
First simple security. We have not yet got the planning permission for the shutter; we are awaiting a council meeting on the 13th to see what happens next here. But if we lose the case again and will have to appeal to the Scottish Government in such case, but not having any cash on the premises we reduce the security risk of someone thinking it is worth breaking in for the cash.
Second and the major reason is time management. As an example, today I took an hour to go to the bank and Tesco for a sandwich for lunch. Oh, and Ying’s bananas – yes for her lunch! And out of about an hour in total spent over a third of
that time waiting in a bank que.
We have always taken most payments as card, but since the clinic opened six months ago the amount of cash as a proportion has become minuscule. It is simply not cost effective to leave the clinic reception unmanned for an hour to go pay in the one or two payments in cash that we receive. This has be exacerbated further recently with Phoebe Chen our Penicuik Reflexology specialist being fully booked and adding to the turnover and number of transactions we have to process.
Now I am sure that some people will not like this. But long gone are the days when people could not get a debit card to make payments. Even a simple deposit account from the major banks comes with a debit card.
The I only deal in cash statement follows. Well join the 21st century is my reply. I do not want to come across as hard, but we also are not geared up to having to give change for example.
We recently put our prices up to £32.50 for regular treatment. In comparison to a cup of coffee for example this is still incredibly cheap. But a consequence has been a few people not having coins to pay the exact amount and us not having change to give. Coming back to the initial security requirements re the friendly council.
Now about home visits. Ying in the past has been driving around on a winter night carrying hundreds of pounds with her for payments in cash. That was years ago, and we have been asking people to pay with cards since she started. Most regular patients have adjusted to this request.
The one case where this might be an issue is where money is left with someone say a parent in an envelope to give to Ying by the patient’s sibling who is not present during the home visit. We are happy to take a phone payment. We are soon going to introduce the ability to book a home visit online and there will be the ability to pay up front doing this by card. You can do a bank transfer; we can also send a PayPal invoice to you by email.
There is also the issue of home visits to patients suffering from dementia. Ying has found herself on several occasions feeling very uncomfortable being involved in handling purses and wallets of patients who are not able to manage the cash payment. While she is trusted by the relatives of these patients she simply does not want to be in any position where her trust could be questioned.
Since the clinic opened, we have been investing a lot of time, effort, and money in upgrading the administration. The biggest effect of this is the ability to book online and access your appointments online. As indicated, we are still working on this, and home visits will be next to join this. Another change going on just now is upgrading the card payment system we have in the clinic. The new system will mean an upgrade in the equipment and reduction in costs. Not the reason for the move away from cash but from our perspective it makes it a lot easier.
This has been a long article over a simple point, but I have given you an insight to things we are doing in the clinic. And it does follow the point about time management and no longer being able or prepared to stand in long bank ques. With winter coming you do not need to be medium like myself to predict the micro-climate of the Penicuik area and my unwillingness to stand in the bank ques which I often feel will soon be extending out the front door of the bank! Thus, my final desire to move to cards only.
This will apply across all services in the Clinic, Podiatry, Reflexology and my own Mediumship work.
Marc Stuart Medium and Practice Manager.