A look at how you can now have a presence online as direct access creates some new marketing opportunities
While the GDC has yet to publish its new scope of practice and standards advice, the DH&T can use the current documents to guide them; this also includes the advice given to registrants regarding advertising their services. Prior to 1 May, it could easily be argued that the requirement for a prescription from a registered dentist precluded any advertising by a DH&T as it would be misleading to say the least. Indeed, any practice suggesting it was better because they had the services of a DH&T could find itself in trouble with the regulator – and this is still true now. While a DH&T can now advertise their services direct, the GDC has, in its guidance, attempted to redress this by pointing out that all registrants should take heed of their guidance in this area.
A new way
Some practices have taken full advantage of this change and are now advertising their DH&T services on their websites. Others are already considering offers to help promote this; dental hygienists John Stanfield and Shaun Howe came up with a novel way of allowing their colleagues to advertise their services that complies with GDC guidance yet will allow the DH&T to sell their services to a much wider audience. New website www.hygienistdirect.co.uk is now live and it allows registered DH&Ts to advertise their services direct.
What you can do
• Advertise your services direct to the public
• Consider the internet as the best palce to market yourself
• Register with www.hygienistdirect.co.uk
The internet is, by far, the best way for any DH&T to market themselves yet when searching, the patient may become confused by the myriad of dental practice websites that come up when using a search engine, then have to find the appropriate section that interests them; this new website hopes to eliminate that by allowing those seeking services of a DH&T to search by county. The site is evolving rapidly and has 17 registered (at time of writing) yet needs YOU to help it succeed and become the valuable patient resource that both John and Shaun hope it will become. For a modest fee, you can register on the site and as more join the more the site will grow and become far more interactive for the patient seeking services.
Both John and Shaun would like to give something back to the profession that has given them so much and it was uncanny that both were thinking along the same lines; it was from this that they realised there is nothing in place to support colleagues that may have fallen on hard times for whatever reason. It was this that led to the thought of setting up a benevolent fund for DH&Ts; dentists have several such schemes that are well supported and, as the aligned professions of DH&T go from strength to strength and numbers on the registers increase, it is likely that such a benevolent fund will become necessary. With this in mind, and once there are sufficient numbers registered on www.hygienistdirect.co.uk, John and Shaun would be delighted in setting up the DH&T Benevolent Fund (DH&TBF) which will, with time offer small ‘emergency’ pay-outs to those colleagues who are in desperate need of support. It is early days yet with the ideas being formulated but all is slowly coming together and it is hoped to have this fund fully in place before the end of 2013.
Www.hygienistdirect.co.uk will donate 25% of profits made into this fund and it is hoped that, by taking the lead, they can encourage trade and representative bodies to make donations to the fund. The site will also support other charities; the first of these will be Bridge2Aid who will have a free page hosted on the
John Stanfield is a dental hygienist with more than 30 years’ experience. John works between two practices in Cheshire. He has lectured nationally at such events as the ADI congress and The Dentistry Show and is the webmaster for www.hygienist.co.uk. He is the clinical lead in the development of a Post Grad Cert in Dental Hygiene with the FGDP.
Email [email protected]
Shaun Howe trained in the army in 1993. He likes to write and is well known for his outspoken views on regulation and all matters dental. He is one of three DCP local advisers to Dental Protection and a moderator on www.hygienist.co.uk.