Lynn Leach, regional support manager for Practice Plan, discusses five benefits NHS practices have experienced by introducing a private offering with a membership plan.
Introducing more private work to an NHS practice can feel like a big decision – depending on how independent you want to be from the NHS, it could be the biggest professional decision you make. As such, there is, understandably, a huge amount of uncertainty about the best way to take that step. That has certainly been my experience of working with many dental practices, whether they are considering moving to a mixed NHS and private practice or becoming completely private.
Through supporting these practices along that journey, I know that many share the same fears about making the move. Most of those worries ultimately stem from the same source – the fear of shifting away from the security of a fixed NHS income to what is perceived to be an ‘unknown’, more fluid income.
However, by introducing private dentistry with a membership plan you can eliminate that element of the unknown. Not only that, it offers a more controllable, more sustainable and more satisfying future. Below are five benefits practices tell us they have felt since implementing a plan to support the introduction of private treatment.
Improving the health of patients
Patients who are on a plan attend their dental health checks and hygiene visits more frequently compared to their pay-as-you-go counterparts. This means that they can be monitored much more regularly, with any potential issues spotted earlier and more opportunity to take preventive measures. All of this adds up to better dental and wider health for patients, which, of course, is what all dentists are trying to achieve.
A side-effect of patients attending more regularly is that they become more engaged in what is happening inside their mouths. This also means that they are more likely to be interested in elective treatments and other services.
More affordable options for patients
A plan enables patients to spread the cost and reduces worry about their inability to afford treatment. Patients find it much more convenient to be paying a regular amount, normally by direct debit, so that payment becomes one less thing they need to think about when they visit your practice.
The easier it is for patients to attend appointments, the more likely they are to do so.
A regular income
With a plan in place, the advantage of a guaranteed, steady income does not disappear as you move away from the NHS. Without the restriction of external targets, you can calculate how to set your monthly fees in order to achieve your own goals for your practice.
Calculated correctly, a plan will offer you a dependable income from which you can maintain or grow your business with greater certainty. A fixed, regular income also increases your practice’s goodwill value, should you begin to think about retiring or selling.
More bonded patients
Patients that have committed to a regular monthly payment are less inclined to look elsewhere or shop around for dental treatment. Implementing a plan that is branded to your practice also helps to maintain the bond between you and your patient, rather than a third party.
Greater job satisfaction
Treating patients who are more dentally educated and seeing them more regularly means they are likely to be more enthusiastic and you are able to build a more personal relationship with them. Due to the fact that they attend frequently, the opportunity for preventive rather than restorative dentistry is higher.
By taking control of your business through setting your own fees to meet your own targets you can also spend more time with each patient. This all equates to a more rewarding work life.
Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded dental plans. It has a wealth of business and plan support services, including expert marketing support, and a proven reputation for supporting practices to develop and maintain a profitable and sustainable business.
So, whether you’re considering your options out of the NHS, looking to introduce a plan into an established practice or considering switching from another plan provider, Practice Plan can offer you expert advice.
For more information on how Practice Plan can help you introduce a membership plan into your practice, call
01691 684165, or visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/dental-plans.