Four in five dental practices have more vacancies than this time last year

Around 80% of dental practices in the UK have more vacancies than this time last year.

This is according to the latest Dental Market Review carried out by Christie & Co.

The report looks at activity and events in the dental sector during 2021 and the first half of 2022.

Demand for practices

There are 1,300 dental practices marketed each year, and approximately 520 sold in a given 12-month period. Demand outstrips supply with a strong market reported across all price ranges.

Appetite continues from a range of buyer types. Christie & Co sold 33% of practices to corporate buyers between 2021 and H1 2022. Around 32% were first-time buyers, 24% to existing owners, and 11% to small groups.

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Transaction timelines

Before 2021, the average time from offer accepted to exchange was 233 days. This fell by 19% to an average of 188 days in 2021 and H1 2022.

In England, fully private practices which are share sales typically transact the quickest. In addition, asset transactions involving the transfer on an NHS contract take the longest.

Workforce and costs

The report found that 100% of operators felt the environment for recruitment had deteriorated for both clinical and non-clinical staff over the last 12 months.

Looking at workforce and costs, the most significant areas found were:

  • Workforce – clinical and non-clinical
  • Energy/utility
  • Lab and materials.

Nursing pay was the key concern, with pay increasing by an average of 6.5% amongst those questioned.

In addition, there is also less pressure on associate and hygienist/therapist pay where earnings are based on a percentage of revenue. However, NHS associates who operate on a fixed price per UDA are likely to seek an increase.

The report predicts associate costs to rise to more than 50% of gross UDA rate in practices with UDA rates of sub £25 and/or those in more rural areas.

You can download the full report here. 

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