Articles, Dentistry

Prevention is better than cure

As a dental practice you are able to deal with the normal day-to-day incidents that occur in the workplace; whether testing the fire evacuation procedures or dealing with staff calling in sick unexpectedly.

However, unplanned events can have a devastating effect on your business. A pandemic, such as swine flu or the norovirus, or severe damage to your business premises from storms, can make carrying out your day-to-day activities very difficult, if not impossible.

It could mean complete closure or finding a new location to operate from, all with far reaching consequences.

Business continuity plan

Having an effective business continuity plan in place, as well as adequate insurance that protects you, should you be unable to operate as normal, will reduce the risks to long-term disruption of the services that your patients rely on. Towergate Insurance offers a surgery policy that provides business interruption cover of up to £4 million over 24 months. This provides protection to your surgery should you not be able to operate for a period of time.

Ensuring your practice insurance policy provides business interruption cover is crucial, but a business continuity plan is also a key part of the solution. Having specific instructions in place should any disruptive event occur will mean that you and your staff can get your dental practice up and running as quickly as possible.

The objective of Towergate Insurance’s Business Continuity Plan is to document a way in which your surgery can be back up and running as quickly as possible. Some questions you might want to consider are:

  • Does your staff know what to do in the event of a major incident and what, if anything, should they say to the press and media?
  • Have you considered preparing an emergency pack?
  • Are your staff contact details up-to-date and stored in an accessible place other than at the surgery?
  • What you would do if your surgery lost a utility for a period of time?
  • How would you access patient records if you experienced an IT failure?
  • Due to the specialist nature of your work, have you considered having a formal reciprocal agreement with other dental surgeries in your area?

Tips to consider

First, you need to carry out a site threat assessment, which will list the threats you feel your premises are exposed to, eg fire, loss of IT or phones, flooding, pandemic outbreak etc.

Then identify who is expected to do what in an incident, the location of critical documents and who has access to them (including staff contact details), the contact details of people who can help you as well as the contact details of key suppliers such as glaziers, builders, plumbers etc.

Also, consider developing a generic statement for use should you need to get a consistent message out to the public, staff and media.

Ensure you review the plan at least every six months and that copies are held off-site too.

Whilst this might seem an onerous task, developing a business continuity plan now will help you manage and monitor your activities and spot problems before they manifest themselves, meaning prevention really is better than cure.

If you have any questions or require advice in regards to your surgery insurance, Towergate Insurance will be delighted to help. Call 01438 739701 or visit www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/care-and-medical.

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