The co-owning principal dentists of our practice had already completed principal-led conversions at the practice a couple of years ago, leaving NHS dentistry to the associate dentists. We had successfully introduced a membership plan at the practice with PPD to manage the transition, which had been well received by patients and allowed the principals to take the time to deliver the care their patients deserved. Fast forward to 2020, we were still struggling to make NHS care commercially viable at the practice. Our contract value was simply too low to deliver the care our patients needed and we were becoming increasingly frustrated in having to work in a time-pressured environment. It was really hard to explain this to patients considering their lack of understanding of the NHS system from a practice perspective. We had seen an increase in patient needs due to lockdowns and people having more time at home with a greater opportunity to snack! We were inundated with cases of caries, which made our NHS operations even more challenging on top of the challenges of operating under Covid restrictions.
We knew the writing was on the wall and ultimately we had to make the move to drop our NHS contract, but we were naturally apprehensive. In considering also the global pandemic, the whole thing seemed very daunting, but we decided to reach out to PPD to explore our options.