Significant shift towards private dental care
The research shows a significant shift in the provision of dental care, with 81% of practitioners planning to offer private services to patients and 63% of dentists now expecting private practices to be more profitable then NHS practices in five years time.
Dentists are showing concerns over the funding for the proposed new NHS dental contract, with just 12% confident it will be adequately funded.
Ian Crompton, head of healthcare at SME Banking, said: 'Primary healthcare is experiencing unprecedented change, with some professions rising to the challenge and others wary of the impact this will have on their budgets and service provision.
'The wider economy uplift has boosted dentistry morale, with dentists continuing to hold the position as the most confident primary healthcare profession in the short-term.
'It is interesting to see the noticeable shift in the number of dentists expecting private practices to again become more profitable than NHS, particularly as the funding structure of the new contract remains unclear, which is resulting in innovation amongst dentists looking for alternative avenues to help grow their business.'
The research, carried out by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Healthcare Confidence Index, canvasses opinions of primary healthcare providers (general practioners, dentists and pharmacists) over the next one to five years, to provide an insight into attitudes, opinions and levels of confidence.
Sixty nine percent of dentists plan to grow their business over the next five years with an expected increase in financial pressures reported by 87% of the dentists questioned.
More than half (54%) of dentists expect their practice profits to increase over the next 12 months, whilst over a third (34%) would encourage their son or daughter to enter the profession.