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Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
The good news!
Private practice is more profitable now than previous figures showed. Hit by the recession, independent practitioners are now finding figures adding up better. Thanks to Jenin Khanam of Charles Russell Speechlys for highlighting these figures. The National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL) latest bench marking statistics show that there is a strong performance in private practice in the financial year 2013-2014. Fee income is up by £7k per principal in a typical NHS practice and by £23k in a typical private practice.
Practices are also worth more now as well. The NASDAL quarterly goodwill survey confirmed the following:
- Private practices were sold on an average goodwill value of 90 per cent of turnover
- Mixed practices were averaging 134 per cent
- NHS practices were at 128 per cent.
The bad news!
The NASDAL research has found that there has been an enormous increase in the cost of general compliance, by 845 per cent in the last decade. A combination of Care Quality Commission, HTM01-05 and the new demands of NHS commissioners had really turned up the heat on spending by practices. Added to this are the more detailed CPD requirements of the General Dental Council and the huge increase in the Annual Retention Fee.
It all adds up to a whopping extra £15,011 per year for every dentist which we need to find in order to continue in practice. Of course, this varies from practice to practice and we have generally found ways of absorbing this increase.
Use it or lose it
Once the moment has gone, you’ve lost any opportunity it held. There are ways of mitigating these costs and transforming them into opportunities for having a positive impact on patients. If we have to do it, then use it!
If you have had a CQC inspection, take any positive comments and use them in marketing the practice – splash them on your website, frame them in your waiting area. Wouldn’t prospective patients want to know that CQC found “People were cared for in a clean, hygienic environment”!
Include images of your decontamination room in literature – you can make it look amazingly clean and sparkling – it creates an added dimension to your practice profile. In my experience, patients are actually interested in this.
Include your latest CPD in website data, frame and show that certificates – it all adds to a positive professional image.
Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert Dental Contributor