Richard Scarborough explores how taking time and getting the right support when making initial investigations into moving away from the NHS can make the transition smoother.

The first step in a new direction can be scary for any business, and when that step is a move away from the NHS, some trepidation is understandable. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the bigger picture of introducing private dentistry, making it hard to see how to take those first few steps.

What is key here is to bear in mind that the start of any transformational process is just exploratory. It is a chance to take stock of your options and the routes available; but how exactly do you go about doing that?

Support

It can be worthwhile seeking support from the outset, someone who can be there as a guiding voice and a listening ear, who you can trust to give well-informed advice. This can be people within your practice team, peers, or for a more objective, external view, you can bring in specialist consultants.

To begin understanding what your options are, the starting point needs to be identifying what you are hoping to achieve by moving to private dentistry. This can be personally and/or professionally, and might be one goal or a few; talking this over can help to clarify your aim(s). Spending time to understand what your goals are for making such a move will help you to identify what success is going to look like for you and your practice.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to converting from the NHS to private dentistry. Everyone has different objectives and begins from a different place, depending on a range of factors such as how long you have been established, the socioeconomics of the area and the local dentistry market Therefore, the route you take towards your goals should be tailored to meet your individual needs.

Support during these initial investigations can help you to pinpoint what questions you need to be asking at the start of the journey and, crucially, how to understand and interpret the answers. Some of these factors carry more weight than others, so it is valuable to have someone who is able to make sense of this information for you.

Reasons for moving

Clarity on your motivation and current situation, and knowing what options are available to you, can make the bigger picture a lot clearer and goes a long way towards easing any feelings of apprehension. From that position you can begin to map the best route forward and plan how to minimise the risks and maximise success.

Exactly how to do that will depend on your specific situation, but fully exploring the factors that will influence the success of moving away from the NHS, will mean you can feel confident you’re making an informed and balanced decision.

That first step towards private dentistry can be a big decision, but it often feels harder than it is due to the uncertainty of where to start and fear of heading in the wrong direction. However, being supported from the outset to carry out these initial investigations can significantly ease that worry, ensure you begin the journey feeling sure-footed and have the comfort of knowing you are not going it alone.