Twenty-three years ago, in a caravan in a car park at Titchfield Community Centre, Clare Chavasse opened Titchfield Dental. As patient numbers steadily grew, the practice expanded. Firstly, into a two-surgery practice with one dentist and two nurses in a converted garage, and finally to what it is today – an award-winning private practice with three dentists, in a converted residential property.
Here Practice Manager Sharon Nanson, who has been part of the team for 21 years, shares their story and explains how partnering with Practice Plan supported their growth.
When we first began as a relatively small practice, we had a waiting list for new patients, and as people moved away or left we would just open up the books and fill the list back up. It was a fairly natural process. However, when we moved to our current practice and had the additional space and resources, we opened up two new books.
That’s when we decided we needed the support of a membership plan provider, to help us manage this period of growth and the additional workload that greater patient numbers would bring. As a smaller practice, I had administered a plan myself, however, having been through that experience I knew how much work it would be on a larger scale. That’s why I knew that we would need the expert support of Practice Plan to ensure we could manage it as smoothly as possible.
“That’s why I knew that we would need the expert support of Practice Plan to ensure we could manage it as smoothly as possible.”
It wasn’t just the administrative support that we needed help with, in order to manage the day-to-day workload, it is the additional help that we knew would assist us to run the practice as smoothly as possible. We have a team of 15 here, but Amy D’Arcy-Burt, our Practice Plan Regional Support Manager, is like the 16th member of staff.
I see Amy regularly and she is really proactive about taking our suggestions on board. I suggested that it would be nice to have a peer review group and she started the Practice Managers’ Breakfast Club which is really helpful. Everyone comes together with their specific questions and we discuss whatever issues there are. It’s great because it can be quite an insular business but this allows us to mix with other practice managers and get fresh ideas.
She’s very supportive, she’ll help us with anything we ask for – I love the fact that if I ask her for something, she’ll just come in and log herself onto a computer. I wanted to carry out an audit of our patients who are on a plan, to check if they were on the appropriate one for them. We offer a lot of different plans, depending on the patient’s clinical needs as it is a key part of our practice ethos of offering options to suit everyone’s needs. I spoke to Amy about it and she audited the practice for us, looking at how often people were coming in and whether they were on the correct plan.
“By switching patients onto the right plan for them we were able to almost double the amount of monthly income we receive from plan.”
From the audit, we could clearly see that our pay-as-you-go patients were not attending as regularly as the patients on plan and were able to identify which patients would benefit from moving plans. By switching patients onto the right plan for them we were able to almost double the amount of monthly income we receive from plan. Of course, that’s great for us as a business, and our bottom line, but it’s also great for our patients as we were able to ensure they are receiving the best service for them.
It is really important if you are to continue evolving and growing as a practice that you review what you are doing from time-to-time and ensure you’re not missing any opportunities. Having someone like Amy on our side means we have that extra pair of hands to help us carry on investing in the success of our practice.