“Which” kicks (NHS) Dentists – so what’s new?…and what to do.

Following on from another Consumer’s Association report.

Dentistry is an easy target for any journalist that wants to have a go at a profession. Let’s face it, from Marathon Man through The Little Shop of Horrors via Lemming of the BDA and Robert Lindsay’s misanthropic, cynical and assistant sacking GDP Ben, dentists tend not to be portrayed as heroic or even that admirable. Add to that they are “associated” with healthcare, historically wield unpleasant instruments of repair and they also dealt with money so are perceived as “money” orientated. Just put “I hate dentists” into Google.

So when a Mangold or a Vine from Panorama or any wannabe sensationalist writer in other media is looking for a story then “teeth” is an obvious way to go.

Is it any different now? Well, the attacks are similar, encouraging the “oo in’t it awful” but the context has changed. I have written about this at some length in the past.

Well yes it is different because the landscape has changed. The Consumers Association did do the recent “mystery shopper” work, I don’t doubt their results, they do have a current campaign about dental charges which has over 19,000 signatures (although some way short of the desired 25,000).

The discredited (but still in post) chair of the GDC does want dentist to be like supermarkets.

The Dental Law Partnership (other ambulance chasers are available) are encouraging complaints. Why? Because there is plenty about which to complain. If dentist didn’t make themselves easy targets they would move on to greener pastures.

  • There has to be clarity in everything that you do, which means that..
  • You need to be squeaky clean about all your communications whether verbal or written, which means that..
  • All team members have to be trained in communication skills and rehearsed, which means that..
  • You have to invest in your team, which means that..
  • If you are looking to “sell” work that isn’t available on the NHS – and please make sure that it isn’t and the patient is in no doubt about it – your well trained team will be able to do that for you, which means that..
  • You will be able to reduce your dependence on an NHS that is running out of money, that measures output not quality of care, that is dangling the carrot of a better contract in 2018 (at the earliest), which means that..
  • You will be able to concentrate on the important things: the relationship with your patients, helping them to improve their dental health so they become people who want all your services, and a practice where you aren’t living in fear of the GDC, CQC, DoH and their works and pomps.

Sounds simplistic? As the research shows, people don’t like dentists in general but do like their own.

People do want to know, like and trust their dentist and team.

They do want to do business with you.

And they do want to send their friends.

The culture has changed, the landscape has altered, the principles remain the same.

It’s up to you to take the initiative.


Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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