Josie Hutchings speaks to Jason Greenwood about making changes to his practice and the positive effect they had
Change is said to be inevitable, but it is also often hard to embrace or even accept.
This can be particularly true when it comes to running your business and where any change can feel like it comes with an element of risk.
We all know dentistry is an evolving profession that brings a requirement to develop alongside it and avoid being left behind. But this can be easier said than done.
Jason Greenwood from The Stafford Dental Practice is an advocate for change, having embraced it in his own practice, moving from the NHS to private and choosing to implement a membership plan. I asked him about his approach to change and how the ones he embraced have impacted his practice.
Josie Hutchings (JH): How do you feel about change? Can it be a good thing?
Jason Greenwood (JG): It has to be a good thing – if you don’t change, you’ll stagnate. All that happens if you don’t make changes is you end up falling into a hole, be it financial or emotional, without even realising it’s happening because you have your comfort zone around you of things being the way they always have been.
On a personal level, people generally aren’t comfortable with change, but I really believe it’s an essential part of life. If you’re afraid to change, you’re afraid of life. In a personal and professional sense, if you don’t continue to evolve then you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, and if you’re not enjoying yourself then make a change, do something else, try something different.
JH: What change had the biggest impact on your practice?
JG: A long time ago I significantly reduced my NHS commitment. I was just starting out in my practice in the early 1990s, and the circumstances around me changed. The messages being directed at patients from the government and some dental bodies was that NHS practices were full so don’t bother even trying to get an appointment.
I was in a new practice and the phone simply wasn’t ringing. We knew we had to do something, otherwise we would have been in massive trouble.
I decided to move some of my patient list to private and my NHS commitment became a bit of a safety prop – it was my comfort zone. But after some time, I knew I had to reduce my NHS significantly and become almost wholly private. The NHS was sucking me dry and I felt I had to do something else to maintain my standards and give myself the quality of life I wanted both professionally and personally.
It was at this point I became involved with Practice Plan. They gave me the confidence to believe in myself, that I was doing the right thing, and provided the support of having someone there to lean on. They have a proven track record, it’s very difficult to go wrong when you have that kind of support and experience behind you.
JH: How have you used that support over the years?
JG: Obviously, I have the support of you, Josie – you’re always there, always cheerful, always have good advice and the depth of your knowledge really is something special.
We’ve also used the marketing and design team, which is really good value and very effective. Having that kind of service in-house makes everything easier, as we don’t need to shop around different companies and risk getting it wrong because we know everyone at Practice Plan understands us as people and a business. The team listens to what we want, is open to our ideas and the designs we have had are fresh and exactly what we wanted.
Members of the team and I have attended most of the regional events and workshop tours Practice Plan organise, which are really helpful. The subjects are always very pertinent to the profession we’re in, and for us, as an established practice, it’s useful in terms of keeping us fresh, motivated and reinforcing what we do as a business.
Our receptionist Kerrianne is also able to use the online services for instant and up-to-date access to our patient data. If we ever need to call anyone with a query or enquiry, we know we will instantly get an answer.
That’s the nice thing about Practice Plan – even though it’s grown significantly since I joined in 1996, you still know that when you call, you will speak to a real, friendly person and it’s still a very family-orientated feel.
JH: How would you describe Practice Plan to a friend?
JG: Essential. If you’re going to build client loyalty, it’s really important to have a practice membership scheme and Practice Plan make it very easy to do.
I would recommend them without hesitation. I’ve been a member for more than 20 years and I’ve never been let down; the consistency of quality of service and product is unbeatable, and it’s like being a member of a family.
Practice Plan is a leading provider of practice-branded patient membership plans and has helped hundreds of dentists make a successful move to private dentistry.
If you’re looking for more independence or freedom from the NHS and a more fulfilling and rewarding future, call 01691 684165 or visit change.practiceplan.co.uk