NHS to private – the core four financial steps to take

NHS to private: The core four financial steps to take

Gareth Stainsby, specialist financial adviser at Wesleyan Financial Services, shares the financial groundwork required to prepare for a move from NHS to private.

Recent research conducted by Savanta on behalf of Practice Plan revealed that 80% of dentists felt that NHS services will be reduced in five years’ time. One in ten believed the service would cease to exist entirely by 2027.

These stark findings prompt one key financial question – what do dentists need to do to prepare for this scenario?

In this article, we break down the key steps that can be taken to prepare dentists and look at their options – whether that be reducing their commitments or converting altogether.

1. Make sure it’s viable for you and your practice

It’s crucial to build a full picture of your patient list and practice.

There are many key influencing factors that determine whether this change is right for you and your business, such as the demographics, how long you’ve been treating your patients and your current patient numbers.

You can tap into experienced organisations such as Practice Plan. They take all of these influences to paint a realistic picture of what’s possible – even if it’s not right for you at this current moment in time. They can build an in-depth analysis of the finances and the income required for a transition to be successful.

2. Prepare for the personal financial impacts

When you move from NHS to private, there are impacts on a personal financial level too – and not just in terms of your income.

When you work as part of the NHS you have what we call a ‘basket of benefits’ including an outstanding pension scheme, sick pay, death in service benefits and more.

These aren’t easily replaced, particularly when it comes to the NHS pension scheme, so it can pay to receive specialist financial advice to ensure future plans, such as desired retirement age, aren’t negatively impacted by the transition.

3. Do a full financial review

This can be an opportune moment to do a more expansive financial review rather than looking purely at financial areas directly impacted by the move.

With rising operational costs fuelled by the energy and recruitment crises, look to see if you can reduce existing insurance bills and review whether the policies you have in place adequately protect you should any worst-case scenarios happen.

This provides you with the dual benefit of ensuring you aren’t overpaying on any ‘unnecessary’ cover, as well as ensuring your policy is up to scratch so that you aren’t at risk of any nasty surprises should you need to make a claim.

You can also look at your business structuring, continuity planning and partnership/associate contracts to make sure you make the move with minimal external vulnerabilities to your financial planning.

These are all areas that are often overlooked but can make a huge difference to your financial stability should one of them rear their head. It’s the last thing you need when you’re already going through a large change.

4. Explore how you can reduce patient flight risk

Your patients may be heavily impacted by the current economic conditions which might cause you concern when making the move from NHS to private.

With private dentistry regarded by the general public as expensive, it’s beneficial to make the move with the right payment vehicles in place to make the change more palatable for patients.

Having membership plans and finance options in place helps patients afford private dental care by breaking costs down into smaller, monthly instalments.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that patients might come to expect these payment plans in future if they don’t already, as they are widely used across many service and product industries in the form of Klarna and Clearpay etc.

Using companies that understand the world of dentistry, such as Practice Plan and Medenta patient finance, can provide extra benefits, as they supply extra services such as staff training to help you through the transition and deal with the legalities of financial promotion.

Seek further support

At Wesleyan Financial Services, we have a team of Specialist Dental Financial Advisers who understand the financial complexities of moving from NHS to private.

cYou can book a no-obligation financial review with us by visiting www.wesleyan.co.uk/dental or calling 0800 316 3784.

Advice is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

‘WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd (Registered in England and Wales No. 1651212) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is wholly owned by Wesleyan Assurance Society. Wesleyan Assurance Society is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Incorporated in England and Wales by Private Act of Parliament (No. ZC145). Registered Office: Colmore Circus, Birmingham B4 6AR. Telephone: 0345 351 2352. Fax: 0121 200 2971. Calls may be recorded to help us provide, monitor and improve our services to you.

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