Dentistry is a difficult job at the best of times, and it seems to become more difficult year on year. DLP, CQC, GDC…… all are there it seems, waiting in the wings ready to pounce on your least mistake. It is even harder however for those who aren’t enjoying what they do . You get out of bed on a Monday morning, and drag yourself to work knowing that really you don’t want to be there. But you feel you have no choice, because you have bills to pay and hungry mouths to feed. Your patients don’t seem to appreciate what you do, and neither do your staff. Some dentists withdraw into themselves and say “this is how life is “. Others lose their temper regularly and have a high staff and patient turnover. This is not living, this is surviving. And like with everything, there is a better way…..and it isn’t found in the bottom of a bottle of red wine. Nor has it been made better by nGDS/nPDS or whatever new concoction the lib/con coalition come up with. The problem with the new contract was that if you were working on a treadmill under GDS, you suddenly found yourself on an UDA treadmill. And going private is all well and good, but is that easy to do in this recession. with the banks hoarding all the money and the regulators throwing more rocks at you every 5 minutes. If you ask most private dentists, their daylists are filling up with empty space, and the last thing they need is more private practices as competition. Have you seen the retail sales figures for the high street in December 2010? It was a disaster. I still chuckle about the mocking laughter and baying wolves that howled at my comment in early 2008 that the country was heading for a major depression. Funny how the laughter and the howls have stopped.
The following are examples of my articles in the dental press
We live in one of the most exciting times in all of human history, and yet so many of us aren’t enjoying our lives. The improvements brought by technology are expanding at an exponential rate. As such, there have never been so many opportunities in dentistry as there are now. It is an amazing time to be alive and to be in our chosen profession. Unfortunately many people don’t see it like that.
Because like in Star Wars, there is a Dark Side. There have never been as many threats to our profession as there are now. We now live and work in an environment of increasing patient litigation, unjustified employee tribunals, and inescapable and indecipherable government legislation. It is smothering us. HRM 0105, CQC, Disability law, clinical governance, CPD and rising indemnity costs add to the increasing burden of the average GDP. And if you work in the NHS, you now have the worry of what happens should your PCT suddenly run out of money, as well as worrying about not meeting your UDA’s. And in 2012, when the PCT’s are abolished ……what happens then?
So you have two ways to view our present environment. Are you an optimist. or a pessimist. Will you rise to the challenges placed in front of you, or will you allow yourself to be cowed like so many dentists before you? Will you prosper or sell up to a corporate? You get to choose, but you need to choose now. To not choose, to just try and wing it is no longer an option.
The purpose of this web site is simple. It is a tool for the busy GDP to help him or her deal with the every day challenges of running a dental practice.
I am not here to tell you how to run your practice, or how to do dentistry. I am merely giving you my philosophy. For all I know I could be completely misguided, even idealistic. That is for you to decide.
This site is written by someone who has been there and done that. It is written by someone who understands the problems that the average practitioner faces, day in and day out. I wake up every morning and see the increased legislation, the increased costs, and the increased hassle of running a SUCCESSFUL dental practice. And in response, I choose to be an optimist. I choose to see every challenge we are faced with as a potential opportunity. Do I have all the answers? No, of course not. But I would hope that I
have some useful insight that you can use to enhance, not only your business, but your personal life too.
The FREE stuff
You will find what I hope are many useful resources here. First there is the free newsletter. which is available to subscribers only. Let me remind you, it’s free, and you can cancel your free subscription at any time. Subscription will allow you access to the newsletter page (and Archive), which also acts as my occasional blog. The Resource page has web links to numerous sites to help you in your business and help you in yourself. Ideal Dental Practice gives you an insight into what I feel can be done to improve most dental practices. Remember, this is my insight, and may well differ from yours. I am not telling you what to do, simply giving you ideas that you may or may not choose to use.
Of course, not everything in life is free. All the products are aimed at making the running of your dental practice a little bit easier. We use PayPal to allow you to purchase them safely, and download them directly to your computer in either word or PDF file. It’s easy to read the product descriptions and decide on which one you want to buy today. For those of you who don’t like making payments on line, we also offer a downloadable order form for you to print out and send to me with your cheque.
So who am I anyway?
Hi, I’m a practice owner working ‘Up North’ in Chesterfield. I qualified in 1995, and bought my present NHS practice in the year 2000. Despite loosing an associate late 2001, between 2001 and 2006 we saw the practice gross increase roughly 20% year on year. We were one of the few practices to actually get a PCT to increase their UDA value and we have seen revenues steady throughout the recession. We then kept practice profits stable through the recession.
In 2001 I gained MFGDP. In 2010 I gained the the Eastman’s MSc in Restorative dental practice. Previously, I have been a GDPA council member. I am also a Master practitioner in Neuro-linguistic programming and I have trained in Thought Field Therapy.
I realised something early on. The job was not worth my health (and I had to suffer health wise to realise this). I therefore decided to enjoy my job by building what I call the Ideal Dental Practice . I have slowly and steadily moulded my practice so that is not only profitable, but also fun to work in. And what many people are surprised to hear is that we are an NHS practice. With the help of the systems I have developed (some of which are available for you to buy via this web site) I have created a practice:
- Where Both partners work a 4 day week with at least 6 weeks holiday
- Where my staff receive a bonus every year equivalent to 2 weeks income
- Where we treat patients we want to treat – as is your legal right
- Where the maximum number of patients seen a day is rarely over 25
- Where we work no late nights, early mornings, Saturdays or Bank Holidays
- Where we run the practice both clinically and in a business sense following the principles of Constant never Ending Improvement.
- Where, whilst we are still an NHS practice, we are already lowering the lifeboats to leave the great ship NHS
I am not telling you this to impress you. I am telling you this to IMPRESS UPON YOU that the only thing holding you back is yourself. And people will say “well you obviously rip your patients off” or “Well it’s all right for you, but you don’t have my outgoings/expenses/situation”. When I hear people say that, it makes me smile. Negative people always do. And I am nothing special. What I have done can be done by anybody in any part of the country. And it can be done ethically.
In these short 6 years of practice ownership, I have learnt that practitioners cannot do it alone. Even the best of us ask for help now and again. The help is out there. If you are a practice principle, and if you feel that you are struggling, I strongly recommend you give Chris Barrow or Sheila Scott a call. They helped me, and they can help you. You just have to ask.