Question: How did you go about making that change?
Jim: A good friend of ours had been working with Patient Plan Direct and suggested I speak to the local Business Development Manager, Janice Charlton. So, I had an initial meeting with her, and she looked at how we were working and what we could achieve with a private dentistry offering.
She introduced the idea that just one of us could move over to private dentistry and the rest of the team continue to provide NHS dentistry. That meant we could maintain the financial security offered by the UDA system and continue to serve our patients committed to remaining within the NHS but also branch out.
We actually looked at lots of different providers before we made our choice. I think getting the experiences of other practices and finding out how they were supported both during the process and after formed the basis of our decision. But also, Janice herself played no small part – she made life as easy as could be. In fact, the transition to mixed practice was so much easier than we had anticipated.
Question: How did you communicate the potential for change to the team?
Jim: I think, generally speaking, that people don’t like change. That said, we’re very lucky that we’ve got a really good, supportive team who are happy with the direction of the practice.
To make sure everyone was kept in the loop, we arranged a meeting with Patient Plan Direct and closed for an afternoon to share our ideas with the team and to prepare for change. Janice’s experience meant that she was able to answer everyone’s questions and to guide us on how to field patient queries, too.
Question: Was any part of the decision-making cost-related?
Jim: Cost was an issue, but not the driving factor. I’m aware that Patient Plan Direct is significantly cheaper than some other competitors. I think that may have been off-putting for me in some ways had I not met Janice and seen for myself that it’s no reflection of the level of service and experience they offer to their clients. Actually, the service I’ve received from Patient Plan Direct has far exceeded my expectations.