Josie Hutchings explores the potential benefits of private practice for you, your team, your patients and the business.
With the upcoming changes to the NHS contract and the latest report into the UK dentistry market from LaingBuisson indicating that, after a difficult economic period, private dentistry is set to ‘bounce back’, we take a look at what private dentistry could really offer to those working within this area of healthcare.
For many, NHS dentistry offers an excellent service focusing on performing clinically-necessary treatment to achieve healthy mouths, teeth and gums. However, it’s a different story for cosmetic dentistry, as this generally isn’t available on the NHS.
In this day and age, patients have access to an incredible amount of information; whatever their worry, there is a solution to be found on the internet. The end result is that more and more patients are asking their dentists about treatments that go beyond what the NHS can offer.
A private element enables NHS dentists whose patients request an aesthetic treatment to offer a viable solution; patients may be surprised to learn that they can have a combined NHS/private treatment plan.
While the level of care offered by dentists working within the NHS is not in doubt, some may feel constrained by the current UDA system. Time management is always a challenge, whether working within NHS or private practice.
Although NHS treatment achieves the same high-quality results as private dentistry, it’s interesting to note that, potentially, dentists will be asked to do more for less under the NHS with the introduction of new regulations (NHS England) – and with no budget increase. This, it seems likely, would make it that bit harder to provide NHS patients with the appropriate amount of time to meet their needs.
Private practitioners, on the other hand, have greater control over their hourly rate, helping the dentist to schedule their time to best effect. This leads to a number of new opportunities, including the ability to fully discuss what’s on the patient’s mind without worrying about the next appointment. Within a less pressured environment, your patients may be more open about what they want.
Although it isn’t impossible under the NHS, it may cause some dentists to consider what private practice offers. After all, offering patients the best of both worlds is certainly a tempting ideology.
The choice is yours
This blog provides just a snapshot of what private dentistry can offer you, your team and your patients. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t a place for NHS dentistry, the providers of which offer a dedicated service. The truth is it’s very difficult to compare the two, since one is measured in time and costs, and the other in units.
Whatever type of dentistry you and your team want to carry out, there is a system that will work for you. Whether to stay within the NHS, opt for a mixed practice or make the leap to practising private dentistry exclusively, ultimately the choice is yours.
About the author:
Josie Hutchings is a Regional Support Manager at Practice Plan and has been supporting dental practices for over 21 years. She is also part of our NHS Change Support Team. To contact her for further advice and support on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the converting from the NHS section of our website