The dentistry landscape is changing. The coronavirus pandemic caused immense disruption at its start, and continues to pose challenges to practices up and down the UK. On top of this, uncertainty around the current NHS dentistry model’s future, is leading many dentists to consider the move to private practice.
While it might seem like a daunting prospect to change your business model to a private or partially private one, there are clear benefits to private practice and gaining independence from NHS dentistry. Let’s explore five reasons why you should consider going private:
1. Regain control of your practice
Working under the NHS can be stressful for a number of reasons, but research shows that fears of litigation and heavy regulation have been found to be the most stressful aspects of being a dentist1. By moving away from the NHS, and working on a private basis you can have better control of your practice, and how you want to work.
2. Improve your work-life balance
The strains of any job, and juggling those with personal commitments, can sometimes make it hard to get your work-life balance right. In fact, dentists who spend more time on NHS, rather than private work, tend to work longer hours per week and take less annual leave2. Going private can help redress that careful balance. Being able to invest more time into family or home life, and taking those important breaks from work, has positive effects on mental wellbeing.
3. Maintain a regular income
The current, volatile economic climate and falling NHS incomes can be a huge worry for practices. A recent survey by the BDA reveals that 79% of dentists are likely or extremely likely to face financial difficulty in 3-6 months, due to the pandemic3. Private dentistry can offer both flexibility and reliability. With the freedom to set fees and no risk of clawback for under or overperformance, you can put some of those financial worries aside.
4. Spend more time with patients
Patients are at the heart of dentistry; a dentist’s raison d’être. Yet research shows that just 9% of NHS dentists have enough time to manage patient expectations1. And sadly, only 17% were happy that they can provide the level of care they want1. In private practice, with no NHS regulation and longer consulting times, you can be free to dedicate more time to patients. This means you can listen to concerns.
5. Budgeting for treatment
Dental treatment can be expensive for many people, even at NHS prices. Research from the Oral Health Foundation reveals that more than a third of people have sacrificed dental check-ups for financial reasons4. By offering a private dental payment plan, you can enable patients to spread the cost of treatments so they can continue to benefit from routine checks, and get help when they need it.