Dental estates and recruitment updates
Despite the uncertainty faced by many in the industry over the past year, Sam Beadle explains why we can begin to look forward to a more productive future.
We have seen first-hand how difficult the last year has been for practice owners and dental staff.
The global pandemic has caused disruption to our lives in so many ways. Not least to how we plan for the future.
However, the new year has brought with it renewed optimism within the industry. Dental businesses are picking up momentum and committing to future planning.
Industry targets – rising to the challenge
Following the increase in UDA requirements to 45% from January, practices have faced new challenges in meeting their targets.
However, the change has generally been welcomed by practitioners, who are better prepared to deal with the latest demands.
Practices have now established firm patient protocols and cleaning procedures, and they are receiving steady supplies of PPE. Some practitioners have even found the reduction in waiting times has led to improved overall efficiency.
But the greatest advantage to practices is patient demand. People are ready to visit the dentist. Whether for a check-up, a specific problem, general hygiene reasons or cosmetic work, the need is there. It is giving practices confidence they can meet their targets.
Increased targets have also been welcomed by candidates.
During the first lockdown we saw a sharp increase in the number of candidates seeking new roles due to the closure of dental practices and staff furloughed or made redundant. However, the NHS contract increase left practices in urgent need of staff.
Both the number of candidates and the number of roles available continue to increase. We predict a sharp rise in the demand for candidates when NHS contracts return to full capacity between April and July. It could be as much as twice or even three times the need there currently is for staff.
Nor is the demand coming from just the public sector. Private practices are enjoying increased treatment sales and they are utilising more surgeries and greater staff numbers to treat patients.
It is a perfect time for career planning at all levels in dentistry.
The same applies to future planning within the dental estates market. Practice owners have worked immensely hard to survive lockdown and the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of their businesses.
Now practices have settled into COVID-19 compliance procedures and are working to safeguard their futures, our team is busier than ever.
Despite some continued uncertainty from banks with regard to lending, the market is particularly strong, and we have been arranging viewings and receiving offers from practices.
The pandemic has given many practice owners cause to assess their own career goals, with some taking the decision to exit the industry. The reasons for exiting are always personal to the individual, but recent conditions have undoubtedly placed business owners under additional stress.
Reopening practices has brought its own concerns over patient numbers and the ability to meet targets, so we have seen a rise in practices for sale.
Conversely, a large number of dentists who were made redundant due to the pandemic have registered as buyers. First-time practice buyers are keen to invest in their own businesses and this has significantly contributed to the current health of the market.
The past year has been a critical learning experience for many in the dental industry, but there are plenty of reasons why we can move into spring with renewed hope for the future.
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