My parents had worked in the NHS and I’d also worked in the NHS for 20 years, so it’s something I really believe in. However, with funding becoming tighter and tighter and costs increasing, alongside the uncertainty around contract reform and how difficult they could be to fulfil, I had to consider an alternative.
I spent around two years thinking about whether or not to make the move to private dentistry. I finally made the decision after doing a molar root canal that took two hours, but then feeling worried about the cost to the practice. It was a constant juggling of time, money and the desire to deliver quality clinical dentistry. Something had to change.
Since moving to private I have increased the amount of time I spend with my patients and the type of service I can offer. For example, I now feel I can spend half-an-hour with a new patient – rather than the 15 minutes I only felt able to allocate under the NHS; also, a general check-up with x-rays is now 20 minutes rather than 10. I now offer evening and weekend appointments, but at the same time I’ve been able to cut my clinical hours to allow me to pursue a postgraduate qualification and achieve a better work/life balance.
There’s no doubt it is a big decision, and can feel like a scary step to take at first. However, if you plan well, have a great team behind you and communicate openly with patients, it can really reap rewards.