Back in 1998, Cahill Dental Care Centre in Bolton, was an extremely hectic and stressful place to work. Struggling to try to see as many patients as possible on the NHS, they had four dentists, two hygienists and numerous nurses and receptionists for support. Profits were low, stress levels were through the roof and the pressure to ‘just keep going’ was intense.
Gayna Horridge, practice manager at Cahill Dental Care Centre, explains how the practice dealt with the biggest decision they had ever faced.
‘We literally reached a crossroads, it was time to convert the practice to private or risk being stuck in a rut and watch the practice go under.’
Moving to private
‘We had heard of other practices converting to private, but we felt completely anxious about the whole process. Where on earth did we start? Was this going to be lots of work for a team who were already pushed to breaking point? Would we lose too many patients and end up closing anyway?
‘We decided that it couldn’t hurt to start looking into options out of the NHS and get a better understanding of what was involved. We came across a company who seemed to offer a solution that was much fairer than the others. They were willing to listen to our concerns and motives for change with no obligations. It became clear that they had the experience and teams in place to support us, but they also really did have our best interests at heart.
‘We discovered that we could offer our patients a dental plan that provided the highest level of care throughout the year, but they were able to budget for this with affordable monthly payments. Also, our plan would be branded to our practice, which meant that we wouldn’t be promoting another company, just ourselves.
‘Feeling confident that we now understood what was involved and what course of action would best suit us, we decided to go for it. All the staff were informed and a huge amount of training and support was given by Practice Plan to help us with our conversion, including helpful hints on what to say to patients if they objected to our decision to go private. Obviously, we didn’t please everyone at the time and some sought NHS treatment elsewhere, but over the years, I’m pleased to say many of them returned to us.’
After the move
‘Since the days when we first converted, the Cahill Dental Care Centre is now an award-winning practice and a lot less hectic and stressful. We have more time with our patients to provide them with the service that we want to give, which makes their experience better. We also receive a regular monthly income from our patients who are on our plan.
‘The whole transition to private practice was made easy with Practice Plan. We weren’t left to do all the hard work – there was support and guidance every step of the way. Even now, Practice Plan is still there to support us in everything we do, helping us to grow and improve our business.’
The right support
Making the transition from NHS dentistry to private practice could be one of the biggest decisions you make in your career. That’s why you will want the right people around you, who can help you to understand your options and then support you through this exciting period of change.
So, if you are a dentist, practice owner or manager who would like more information about our dedicated support, then call Practice Plan on 01691 684120 or visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/nhs.