Dentists have a lack in confidence says LloydsTSB survey.

Seen in Smile-On

A lack in confidence

According to a new Healthcare Index published by Lloyds TSB Commercial, dentists have an increased lack in confidence in the future of the healthcare sector.

Based on a combined ‘Confidence Index’ drawn from a number of questions, where any figure greater than zero represents a positive outlook and figures below indicate a negative one (the maximum value achievable is plus 100 and minus 100), dentists registered minus 26. GPs registered minus 61 and pharmacists registered minus 50.

The figures indicate that whilst dentists are uncertain about the proposed NHS reforms and how these will hit their profit margins, they are the most positive of the primary healthcare respondents overall.

The findings of the report also included that:

• Dentists are responsible for the only positive figure in the index research; plus 12 say that they have a positive outlook in the short term (gauged over 12 months). This figure is reflective of the significant contractual changes that the profession has already experienced, especially those that have already opted out of the NHS

• In stark contrast however, dentists’ collective long term confidence (gauged over five years) falls significantly to minus 64. This is the greatest shift in confidence of the three sectors

• Overall confidence in the future of the dentistry sector reflects concern around finances and growing competition; 85 per cent of dentists are expecting further financial pressures over the next five years and 91 per cent anticipate increased competition in the market place over the same period.

• Nearly half (43 per cent) of dentists expect to see an increase in profits over the next twelve months, with 33 per cent expecting profits to remain flat

• 41 per cent of dentists have experienced claw-back in the last twelve months for NHS underperformance

Ian Crompton, head of healthcare banking services for Lloyds TSB Commercial, said: “Our findings suggest that further consolidation is expected in the dentistry profession, with many expecting to see a rise in the number of groups of multiple practices.

“As with any significant change, those most able to take advantage of new arrangements will be the ones who adapt the quickest, looking for fresh opportunities and new partnerships.”

Despite the relatively low levels of confidence reflected by the index findings, only 22 per cent of dentists said that they were not confident that they would find someone to take over their business when they retire.

Ian Crompton added: “Although dentists are more optimistic in the short term, take away the relative stability of a current NHS contract and they appear to share the same financial fears as GPs and pharmacists.

“A significant 84 per cent of dentists are saying that financial pressures have increased over the last five years and on this basis, we could see a lot of older dentists selling up and retiring from the profession in the very near future.”

To see the GMPs take on this click here.

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