17 Aug 2021  •  Blog, NHS  •  7min read

A case for making the move away

If you’re considering a move away from the NHS towards a life in private practice, there has never been a better time to do so.

Even though there are currently many factors working in your favour – restricted NHS access, a huge increase in demand for private dentistry and existing patients who are more accepting of change, to list just three – it is still a big decision.

So, talking it through with a conversion expert, safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t obligate you to do anything, can help you evaluate your options and assess whether it’s the right move for you.
Practice Plan has decades of experience in helping dentists to make an informed decision about their future. We’ve developed a simple five stage process that has been used to successfully access guide many hundreds of dentists through a successful transition to private dentistry – should it be the right option. Here are three stories of how our dedicated Regional Support Managers (RSM) took three practices on a journey from the NHS to prospering in private practice…

How we helped…
When I first spoke to Catriona Archer and the team at Burton Family Dental, they were in the same situation as a lot of NHS dentists at that time, they were fed up, felt restricted and wanted a way out. As with all practices, we crunched the numbers, understood the circumstances, and presented all the information, so that an informed decision could be made. We would never advise on something if it wasn’t right for a practice. For example, with Catriona’s practice, the intention was to do a full conversion, but after careful analysis, we agreed that it was right for the practice to keep a small NHS contract to treat children. I worked closely with the team on their communication of the move. You need to strike a balance and get the right tone for patients, because it is a move for them as well as for the practice.
I was able to support and train staff members, have any necessary conversations and explain why the move was being made. If you explain your reasons and are confident in the delivery, then you’re very much in a good position. Pricing structure was also very important, especially when it came to the value of the membership plan compared to the pay-as-you-go price list. Using my experience, we were able to find the correct pricing structure that suited the practice as well as the patients.

“I was able to support and train staff members, have any necessary conversations and explain why the move was being made. If you explain your reasons and are confident in the delivery, then you’re very much in a good position” Josie Hutchings – RSM

The result:
The difference in the practice from the start to now, is huge, in terms of staff morale, work/life balance and how well they are doing. The move has helped them attract more patients, but also provide services that previously they just would not have been able to provide on the NHS.

How we helped…
Some practices already have a vision of where they want to be, and Craig Walsh at Buxton Dental Practice was one of those people. Craig was already a mixture of NHS, Private and Pay-as-you-go. During lockdown, Craig realised how vital his membership plan had become and, combined with his ethos and the kind of dentistry he wanted to provide, he set about doing his due diligence and researched the options available to make a move to become a fully private, membership-only practice, and this is where Practice Plan came in. This was slightly different to other conversions because Craig had pretty much decided on his move. However, we took everything back to the beginning and we worked carefully with him to figure out all the numbers and plan out the best way forward to make the move a success. As soon as the practice opened its doors again, everything was in place to start communicating with his patients. There are various approaches to informing patients, and Craig decided that he wanted the conversion to happen as quickly as possible. With a strong and committed team onboard, who understood the benefits and reasons for the move, within months the practice were able to convert those patients who wanted to stay with the practice.

The result:
We were able to help Craig realise his vision to be happier in his work and to build a stronger, more empowered, efficient and crisis-resistant practice for him and his team.

How we helped…
My first contact with Practice Manager, Harriet Wardale, was months before we were able to press the button on the conversion, and a lot of that was down to the impact of the pandemic. Harriet had been the one to instigate the process and had got all the dentists and staff on board before coming to talk to myself. The reason for wanting to make the move stemmed from the struggle they were having to recruit dentists to work in the NHS. Many didn’t want to work under the restrictions of an NHS contract, so Harriet and her team decided the best way to deal with this was to go private. I set about working out the financial side of things and ensuring everything stacked up, and we requested an adjustment to their NHS contract from the Local Area Team. Harriet began talking to patients and explaining why they were making a move. Because Harriet and the team believed in their move and their rationale, the patients appreciated their honesty and the vast majority were happy to remain as a membership patient.

The result:
The outcome has been amazing for the practice. They have so many patients on plan now, the staff and the dentists are all so much happier. I look forward to supporting them further and watching them flourish.


Ready to talk?

We’ve spent years supporting private practices, so we’re not just experts when it comes to making the move away from the NHS. You can count on us to be there for the long-term. So, if you’re ready to start talking about a different future, why not talk to the NHS conversion experts.

We’re ready when you are…

You can learn more about how we can support you here, or simply give us a call on 01691 684165 or email us on info@practiceplan.co.uk

We also have no-obligation One-to-One virtual appointments available – find out more and book a slot here.



*All ‘Patient on membership plan’ figures are correct at time of publish

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