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Editorials

NHS Or Private

NHS or Private, You Decide!

money4dentists, the specialist independent financial advisers to dentists (IFA's), have over 50 years experience behind them to exclusively advise dentists & partners of dentists. Principal, Richard T Lishman is married to Jane, a dentist and is fully aware of the financial challenges faced within the profession.

Over the next 4 issues Richard will be discussing some of the major financial changes to consider if moving your practice from NHS to Private dentistry. The series will include:

NHS or Private – is it a good time to convert,

Arranging practice finance – what is the best deal,

Protection - make sure you have the right protection in place,

Pensions – is the NHS Pension Scheme better than Private Pensions.

In this issue Richard is going to go through some of the pro's and con's of switching to private.

Over the last few months, more and more clients appear to be getting a little uncomfortable with how their practices are going and if you bear in mind the current economic climate, anyone can see why! Almost daily I'm asked "is it a good time to convert to private" or "should I sell now" or "should I buy now".

To say the least, its commonly accepted that the country is going through a tricky financial period, but with the changes looming within dentistry, dentists are faced with even more challenges and questions need to be answered.

With any business decisions, there are positives and negatives, and switching from NHS to Private is no exception, so let's explore these.

Negatives

  • no guaranteed contract or income
  • potentially more difficult to get the patients through the door
  • will the area support private dentistry
  • do your patients want to change
  • your on your own

Positives

  • set the practice up as you want it to be set up
  • no potential clawbacks
  • higher earning potential
  • less red tape
  • more control

these are just a few of the more obvious questions, never mind the other benefits you could be missing out on such as the NHS Pension Scheme, Maternity Pay and Death Benefits.

There are a number of ways to mitigate many of these potential problems. In fact a growing number of dentists we deal with are focussing on taking their practices into purely private income either through a monthly payment plan like Denplan, or are setting up their own bespoke payment schemes that compliments their

practice and how they want to work. These schemes are essentially a hybrid which they are developing in-house on the basis of cost savings. This approach does require the upfront purchase of specialist billing software as well as bank approval to underwrite the direct debit patient payments, but it shows that there are options available.

Another consideration could be to offer a payment scheme that is not too dissimilar to the NHS, but is in fact a private scheme. the most successful practices that have used this option ensure that the cost of treatment is no more expensive than what the NHS treatment would have cost.

Although this may not help to increasing your turnover initially, it does offer a smooth approach to switching from NHS to Private, without the perceived increase in cost of the treatment to the patients – also there is the kudos associated with this as would a patient prefer to go to an NHS or Private practice, if the cost is the same!

In the future these fees can be tweaked to fit in with what you feel is a fair and reasonable price for the type of work you are to carry out.

So is it a good time to consider converting to Private, only you can decide, but i hope over the next few issues you will have many of the answers (or at least the questions) to help you make more of an informed decision. The best piece of advice i can give you is seek professional, specialist advice before jumping in feet first!

money4dentists have a great record for guiding dentists efficiently, effectively and profitably through their professional and private financial decisions, gaining great trust within the profession, as this year they have been awarded Small Mortgage IFA Firm of the Year, with Associate Sarah Smith coming 2nd place as Newly Qualified IFA of the Year, and Richard even managed to get in there with 2nd place as Protection Adviser of the Year!

As one of the most respected specialist names within dentistry, money4dentists will help guide readers with all aspects of financial matters which will help save money, avoid tax and make sure you are maximising where you spend your money. Their extensive experience can help you to realise your individual aspirations!

Please contact them on richard@money4dentists.com or 0845 345 5060 if there are any specific areas you would like to cover.