Whatever stage you’re at with your dental career, it is always wise to look a little further ahead to plan for your future. Whether you’re just about to take the leap to purchase your own practice, you want to be able to give your patients more treatment options within your existing practice, or you’re thinking about semi-retirement, there’s something that every phase may have in common; private practice. Let’s take a look in more depth…
Your first practice
This is an exciting time and you’re probably brimming with ideas of what you what to achieve and the direction you want to take with this new practice. There is a wealth of new technology and techniques constantly emerging within dentistry, which provides you with plenty of scope to take your career to dizzy heights. Of course, you need to start out by knowing your patients and what type of dentistry they would benefit from before you take the leap and invest in the latest courses and gadgetry, but it is also worth bearing in mind that the majority of these will only be available as private care. This means that you will need to start building up patient base that will be interested in this type of treatment, but how do you do that?
You want to offer extra
It is fair to say that many practitioners often feel frustrated by the constraints of delivering dental care under the NHS. However, the flip side to this is that practices who work under an NHS contract – whether large or small – believe that their patients either wont or cant pay higher prices for private care, even though you may be able to offer them a more suitable solution in this way. Is there a way of offering affordable private care that will enable your practice to offer patients more?
Later in your career
This is the time where you probably want to reduce your clinical days and why not enjoy this time by providing only the dentistry you want to do? You’ve worked hard for a long time to reach the stage you’re at and now is the time to really make the most of your final years in practice. However, many dentists feel that it will be too much hard work to build up a private patient base, especially when they’re at a stage where they want to wind things down a notch. But does this really have to be the case?
In most cases, especially those discussed above, the answer lies in introducing a good patient payment plan to your practice. And to dispel the first myth, this doesn’t have to involve an awful lot of hard work to set up or continue to administer, and if you choose the right plan for your patients, it should sell itself. That’s right, you shouldn’t be in a situation where a patient payment plan is a ‘hard sell’, in reality it should be such good value that it’s more of a no-brainer for your patients!
Let’s look at Elmet dental Care as an example. Julian Beamish is currently in the process of buying his partner’s – Nick Britton – share of the business. Nick is continuing to work in the practice, but wanted to semi-retire and scale down his workload to offer only private dental care three days a week. While Elmet Dental care was already a mixed practice, they needed to boost their private offering in order to make this new set up a feasible option. Julian’s wife, Karima, has joined the team to help with the smooth running of things and her first task was to find a way of switching Nick’s NHS patients to private in order for them to continue their care with him.
‘I have to say, it hasn’t really been a massively onerous task, thanks to the excellent support we have received from our plan provider. We decided to go with Patient Plan Direct after meeting with them at one of the dental shows. They were never pushy and we found them to be far more approachable than the other options available.
‘The first step was to write to all of our existing patients explaining everything that was happening within the practice. Once we sent the letter out, all we had to do was wait. What we’ve found is that at each appointment our patients tend to arrive with their signed direct debit mandates ready to go, we’ve not had to worry about any hard sell at all, which is fantastic for the team. Thanks to Patient Plan Direct’s low administration fees, we’ve been able to keep our prices down so that the plan is a complete no brainer.
‘Patients can see this and are really happy that we’re able to provide them with more choice through access to different types of dental treatments that they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.’
As you can see, boosting your private offering can effectively put your destiny in your own hands, by allowing you the freedom to offer the type of treatments you want to carry out, as well as the ones that your patients really want. That’s not to say everyone should immediately move away from the NHS, there’s plenty of great work available in this sector, but sometimes you want to be able to provide that little bit more alongside your existing contract. With a great patient payment plan, your future could be here sooner than you might think.
- On 29th April 2017