29 Dec 2023  •  Blog, NHS  •  6min read

Five great reasons to introduce a membership plan when you move from NHS to private practice

Regional Support Manager, Tina Wixon, offers five reasons as to why you might want to offer your patients the opportunity to join a membership plan if you choose to move from NHS dentistry to private practice.

At Practice Plan we have more than 25 years’ experience in helping dentists make the move from NHS to private practice which we believe earns us the right to describe ourselves as experts in the process. Over the years we’ve helped hundreds of dentists take back control of their business and build a less pressured way of working for themselves and their teams. Here are my top five reasons for choosing to introduce a membership plan when you hand back your contract and become an independent dentist.

Taking control of your own business.

One of the biggest benefits of leaving the NHS is no longer having to fulfil a UDA target. The number of patients you see in a day is down to the needs of your business alone. This means you are in control of deciding what treatments you offer, which materials you use and how much you charge for your services.

Having a membership plan gives you a regular, predictable monthly income while you’re building up your private client base. Having this monthly fee income helps smooth your cashflow, making it easier for you to plan for the needs of your business. And, most importantly, at Practice Plan we take our cues from you. It’s your business, so we won’t ever push you into doing anything until you’re ready. You’re in control and you set the timetable.

Taking the guesswork out of setting your fees

As part of the process, we’ll analyse all the figures so we can help you arrive at the appropriate fee level to meet the needs of both your practice and your patients.

Being able to charge realistic fees for treatment gives you the freedom to spend more time with each patient as you know you’ll be fairly reimbursed for your time and skills. No more rushing to complete a job so you can get the next patient through the door as quickly as possible so you can hit your UDA target for the day/week.

Of course, no longer having a UDA target also means you’re no longer at risk of being subject to clawback which, post-COVID is a genuine risk for many dentists.

A chance to build rapport with your patients

As I have already mentioned, not chasing UDAs means you need to see fewer patients giving you more time to spend with each of them. This benefits everyone. Working in a less hurried way produces a more relaxed atmosphere for dentists, their team and patients. It allows greater opportunities to develop rapport between dentists and patients leading to stronger relationships.

Stronger relationships increase patient loyalty. Dentistry is a personal service so it’s important that there is trust between dentist and patient. Getting to know more about the patient gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about them as an individual, which is likely to increase loyalty from he patient.

However, helping your patients to feel as if they are ‘members’ of the practice by offering a plan also increases patient loyalty. This loyalty can also be seen as working both ways. By becoming plan members, patients have the peace of mind that they will be able to be seen regularly to maintain their oral health. And in the event of an emergency, they can also feel reassured that they have access to request assistance from the Worldwide Dental Emergency Assistance Scheme.

Excellent support

Once you’ve completed your conversion, with Practice Plan, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience you can tap into. Making the move to private practice with Practice Plan means you get access to great customer support in the forms of a field based dedicated Regional Support Manager (RSM) as well as a Regional Support Advisor (RSA) at Head Office, giving you plenty of options to get the help you need.

As well as training you and your team on how to administer your plan, our RSMs can help with patient sign ups or with general business support. As a Practice Plan practice, you also get access to events and courses and webinars fronted by industry-leading figures and consultants. And, if you need branding and marketing support, our in-house design and marketing teams are at your disposal for anything from pricing leaflets to a full-on rebrand.

Also, if you have concerns about how giving up your contract will affect your personal finances, especially around the NHS pension scheme, our friends at Wesleyan Financial Services have specialist dental financial advisers who will be able to guide you as to how best to go about replacing those benefits.

It’s all about you

As I have already said, we appreciate that it’s your business, not ours. All plans are branded to your practice because it’s you your patients have the relationship with, not us. Our role is to make our processes as simple and efficient as possible so that nothing gets in the way of that relationship, so you can get on with building a profitable business unhindered. That’s why we offer you the facility to give your patients a link so they can sign up to your plan at a time that’s convenient to them. We also help you to stay in control of things through our online portal where you have access to all the data you need about your plan performance in real time, so you can stay in control of things.

So many of our practices describe being with Practice Plan as being part of a family. Just like with a family, we look after our own. So, if you decide to take the plunge and leave the NHS, you need never feel you’re making this change on your own.

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