Dentists warned, ‘don’t get stung’

Firms of professional advisors new to dentistry are encroaching on the dental market.

That’s according to Nick Ledingham, chairman of the National Association of Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL).

He is advising dentists to be wary about handing over their affairs to anyone without extensive experience of working with the dental profession.
The impact of the recession on many professional firms makes acting for dentists an attractive prospect, he says.

Unlike many other businesses which are struggling as a result of the economic climate, dentists working in the NHS, in particular, have a steady predictable income.
He said: ‘What’s happening is that many firms of accountants and lawyers in fields such as construction and the retail trade are losing clients and they are then attempting to begin acting for dentists in order to replace that lost income.

‘In many cases, in order to break into the dental market they are offering to undertake work at less than cost price.’
He urges UK dentists not to be tempted to put their faith in someone new to the market.

They may be very good at what they do, he says, but without the in depth knowledge and experience that NASDAL members have of dentists, their advice may not be sound.
As examples of the complexities of dental business he mentions:
• The NHS pension Scheme
• The risks of incorporation for NHS principals and associates
• The NHS contract, which is constantly evolving
• Dental practice goodwill
• Associate/performer contracts
Ray Goodman, chairman of the NASDAL Lawyers Group, said that on a regular basis, specialist lawyers were having to unravel the mistakes made by lawyers with no experience in the dental market place.

‘Dentists should be very cautious if a non-specialist lawyer is dramatically undercutting a specialist. If they are planning to complete the job in less time at a lower cost, without fully understanding the technicalities of the work they are doing, it’s almost certainly not in the best interests of the client,’ he said.

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