The mydentist mission – ‘I want it to be the best place to work in UK dentistry’

Nilesh Pandya, mydentist CEO, talks exclusively to Dentistry about the group’s laser focus to create the best place to work in UK dentistry and why scrapping targets for dentists and supporting them to grow their careers by investing millions in their practices are just two ways they are achieving that ambition.

What made you interested in dentistry?

When I was younger, I wanted to work in dentistry because I wanted to help people. At 16, I went to Eastman Dental Hospital for work experience. Embarrassingly, I fainted in the middle of a procedure so clearly, I didn’t have the right mettle.

But I never lost my respect for clinicians, and I’m delighted that, following my appointment as CEO for mydentist in April, I can help people in a different capacity.

What’s mydentist’s top priority?

To make mydentist the best place to work in UK dentistry. It’s that simple.

Our focus is built around the needs of frontline clinicians and practice teams – because that’s the way we deliver outstanding patient care.

It starts with listening to our clinicians and teams. But that’s not a one-time activity: it’s constant. That’s why we have launched an independent Clinical Advisory Board to get constant feedback from our clinicians. It’s why every year we run the Great Place to Work and Practise survey. And it’s why, every week, our entire leadership team visit our network of practices to make sure we are always learning what we’re doing right and what we can do better.

My priorities are built around what matters most to our clinical teams. They’ve said they want the flexibility to grow the careers that are right for them – so that’s what we offer.

They’ve said they want access to outstanding clinical and wellbeing support. So, we invested in the largest clinical leadership and support team in UK dentistry, with six full time clinical directors who are central to all clinical and commercial decisions we make.

And they said they want to work in high-quality practice environments with the best materials and equipment. Which is why we’re investing millions of pounds in our network.

Our clinicians are empowered to deliver great care to our patients, which is ultimately what it’s all about.

What other changes are being made?

One big change is we’ve scrapped targets and given our clinicians full power to decide how they want to build their careers. This means clinicians can deliver the dentistry that they are passionate about – whether that’s NHS dentistry, private or a mix.

Mydentist used to be seen as primarily a provider of NHS dentistry, but today around half of our dentists’ revenues come from private treatments and the private earnings of our clinicians are more than double what they were just a couple of years ago.

We made a conscious decision to move towards affordable private dentistry. It has been a lifeline for patients and has allowed clinicians to launch their private careers.

We use our scale as the largest provider to lower costs and offer simple, transparent pricing, so patients know exactly how much their treatment will cost, and clinicians feel better able to have conversations with them about what is available.

We’ve got a team of 50 clinical development advisers who support, advise and guide dentists to grow their careers and maximise their earnings potential. And we also have 300 clinical mentors to support our newest clinicians as well as lead clinicians in our largest practices.

As part of our three-year plan, we’re investing more than £50m per year building new practices in prime locations, as well as refreshing our surgeries, and doubling the number of iOS scanners available across out network.

Furthermore, we’ve put record investments into salaries for frontline practice employees because it’s critical for the support of clinicians to have happy and focused teams.

What does mydentist’s three-year plan involve?

We’re expanding and refreshing more than half of our practice to accommodate more clinicians so we can deliver great care to the increasing numbers of patients.

The commitment means our clinicians have access to the latest materials, technology and equipment and can work in great practice environments with outstanding clinical support where we can offer cutting edge facilities and the very best patient care.

This is so important. Not just because clinicians want to work in high quality environments, but because clinicians tell us they feel happiest and supported when part of larger teams.

We’re also upgrading our back-office systems to simplify and speed up processes meaning practice staff spend less time on administration, and more time providing the best active support to our clinicians.

When you put this all of that together, it means more patients than ever are getting access to the high-quality and affordable healthcare delivered by clinicians and practice teams who love what they do and where they work.

It’s an approach that we’re already seeing result from, with 90% of our clinicians saying they get the support that they need when they need it. A further 87% believe they can develop their full potential with us. And 86% are proud of the range of affordable treatments we can offer to patients.

What’s next?

I’m proud that what we’re doing is resonating.

To do dentistry differently is a big ambition. We haven’t always got everything right in the past, but what we’re seeing now is that the changes we’re making are working. More dentists are joining us and staying with us for longer. More patients are coming to us for care – and after all, isn’t that what’s it’s all about and why those working in dentistry love what they do?

The future for mydentist is that we’ll keep listening and we’ll keep adapting. And in doing that, we’ll continue to make mydentist the best place to work in UK dentistry.

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