Reasons to be cheerful – Chris Barrow on the dental landscape

Reasons to be cheerful – Chris Barrow on the dental landscape

Speaking to Practice Plan’s creative director Les Jones, dental business coach Chris Barrow dips into his well of optimism to share his assessment of the current dental landscape.

Having lived through seven recessions and watched businesses bounce back, Chris Barrow is confident that the recent difficult economic cycle we have experienced is about to come to an end. More favourable conditions for business beckon!

He feels this is even more likely if Labour gains power at the upcoming general election. This is because previous Labour governments have a track record of inward investment to stimulate economic growth. There may be a price to be paid later on in the economic cycle. But in the meantime, things can only get better.

‘There has never been a better time to be in dentistry’

However, despite being of the opinion that there are always things to be happy about, he acknowledges that there are also always things to feel sad about. He cites his three Rs (recruitment, retention and remuneration) and his three Ps (production, prices and profit) as his reasons for being less than cheerful.

Recruiting and retaining staff are persistent problems for many practices. More people are choosing to leave dentistry altogether, or are headhunted by other organisations. He has also seen a 40% increase in payroll costs for many businesses. Despite this increase in costs for practice owners, he views this as merely restoring the differential as staff have been underpaid for the past couple of decades.

Negatives aside, he finds the developments in digital scanners and artificial intelligence exciting and would encourage his grandchildren to take up dentistry as a career when they are old enough. As the access problem induces more patients to opt for private dentistry, there has never been a better time to be in dentistry and its future remains bright.

If you’re considering your options away from the NHS and are looking for a plan provider who will hold your hand through the process at a pace that’s right for you, you can start the conversation with Practice Plan on 01691 684165 or book your one-to-one NHS to private call today at

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