Busting myths in dentistry

Practice Plan talks to Sarah Buxton about what she will be discussing at this year’s The Dentistry Show.

This year’s Dentistry Show is just around the corner and after the huge success in 2016, Practice Plan will be curating the Dental Business Theatre programme for the second time.

In anticipation of the show, Practice Plan caught up with Sarah Buxton, employment and HR solicitor, who is one of the experts taking to the stage in the theatre.

Practice Plan (PP): You’re an employment and HR solicitor specifically for the dental industry, why did you choose this particular path?

Sarah Buxton (SB): It chose me really! From a young age I wanted to be a solicitor and therefore focused on this. During my training I realised employment law was the area that I felt comfortable practising and upon qualification I found myself advising a dentist on an associate agreement, they recommended me to their colleague and it grew from there. I feel lucky to be part of the industry.

PP: What is the most common question that you get asked when you are speaking to dental professionals?

SB: The most common question is ‘can I dismiss him/her?’ Obviously, this is always an option if you’re not happy with a member of staff, but it is not without risk. If an employee is underperforming, committed an act of misconduct, or if you have a redundancy situation, an illegal situation or there is some other substantial reason, then this is a fair reason for termination, as long as a fair procedure is followed.

PP: You’re part of a panel in the Dental Business Theatre that is focusing on abiding with employment law and CQC regulations. How important is this to practice managers and owners?

SB: Apart from the clinical side of running a business, abiding with employment law and the CQC are the most complicated, time-consuming and most stressful aspects of running a business. Therefore, they are very important to dental professionals – a failure to deal with employment law or CQC regulations can be costly for the business. Ultimately, the regulations are in place to ensure and to assist with the smooth running of a dental practice.

PP: You’re on a panel with Nicki Rowland, Sheila Scott and Pat Langley. That’s a lot of different opinions on one stage, do you think that you’re going to agree on the questions posed or are sparks going to fly?

SB: Each panel member has their own specialism and therefore I’m sure that we pretty much have every issue covered when it comes to the discussion and questions prompted by the audience. We will each be able to draw on our different experiences and provide the delegates with a satisfactory answer, no matter what the question.

PP: If you had to give one piece of employment law advice for practice managers and owners, what would it be?

SB: Prevention is better than the cure. Take advice before you act. I often find that I’m contacted when it has all gone wrong, but my role is to advise, support and help before it gets to that stage. Taking advice before can prevent a dispute from escalating.

PP: What will a delegate take away with them when they come to the session?

SB: This year’s line-up is superb and it’s a fantastic opportunity for practice owners and managers to come together and learn from experts in the dental industry. Delegates will take away with them lots of useful knowledge about employment law and we will bust those employment law myths. There are lots of myths that have stood the test of time, but we will dispel these.

This year’s Dentistry Show will take place Friday 12 – Saturday 13 May at the NEC Birmingham. To find out more about Practice Plan’s Dental Business Theatre programme, visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/events.

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