IT’S TIME TO LOOK FORWARD
Despite the uncertainty faced by many in the industry over the past year, Sam Beadle explains why we can begin to look forward to a more productive future.
We have seen first-hand how difficult the last year has been for practice owners and dental staff. The global pandemic has caused disruption to our lives in so many ways, not least to how we plan for the future. However, the new year has brought with it renewed optimism within the industry. Dental businesses are picking up momentum and committing to future planning, which is great news for our current and potential clients at MediCruit and MediEstates.
Industry targets – rising to the challenge
Following the increase in UDA requirements to 45% from January, practices have faced new challenges in meeting their targets. However, the change has generally been welcomed by practitioners, who are better prepared to deal with the latest demands. Practices have now established firm patient protocols and cleaning procedures, and they are receiving steady supplies of PPE. Some practitioners have even found the reduction in waiting times has led to improved overall efficiency. But the greatest advantage to practices is patient demand. People are ready to visit the dentist. Whether for a check-up, a specific problem, general hygiene reasons or cosmetic work, the need is there, and it is giving practices confidence they can meet their targets.
Bright futures for MediCruit clients
Increased targets have also been welcomed by candidates. During the first lockdown we saw a sharp increase in the number of candidates seeking new roles due to the closure of dental practices and staff furloughed or made redundant. However, the NHS contract increase left practices in urgent need of staff, and in January MediCruit registered over 20 new employers and an additional 240 roles for candidates. This was higher than average for the time of year and it allowed us to help those candidates registered with us since the initial lockdown, which led to one of our highest numbers of interviews arranged for any January. But our work is far from over. Both the number of candidates and the number of roles available continue to increase. We predict a sharp rise in the demand for candidates when NHS contracts return to full capacity between April and July. It could be as much as twice or even three times the need there currently is for staff. Nor is the demand coming from just the public sector. Private practices are enjoying increased treatment sales and they are utilising more surgeries and greater staff numbers to treat patients. Our aim at MediCruit is to fill as many vacant roles now as possible, so when patient capacity returns to 100%, practices have the staff in place to deal with the demand. It is a perfect time for career planning at all levels in dentistry.
“We’ve never been busier”
The same applies to future planning within the dental estates market. Practice owners have worked immensely hard to survive lockdown and the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of their businesses. Now practices have settled into COVID-19 compliance procedures and are working to safeguard their futures, the MediEstates team is busier than ever. Despite some continued uncertainty from banks with regard to lending, the market is particularly strong, and we have been arranging viewings and receiving offers from practices almost daily. The pandemic has given many practice owners cause to assess their own career goals, with some taking the decision to exit the industry. The reasons for exiting are always personal to the individual, but recent conditions have undoubtedly placed business owners under additional stress. Reopening practices has brought its own concerns over patient numbers and the ability to meet targets, so we have seen a rise in practices for sale. Conversely, a large number of dentists who were made redundant due to the pandemic have registered with MediEstates as buyers. First-time practice buyers are keen to invest in their own businesses and this has significantly contributed to the current health of the market. For those practice owners not yet ready to sell, MediEstates continues to provide detailed future-planning consultations and advice on how to get the most out of a business for as long as it operates. The past year has been a critical learning experience for many in the dental industry, but there are plenty of reasons why we can move into spring with renewed hope for the future.
Sam Beadle is the Business Development Manager for MediCruit and MediEstates. He leads the internal teams which are at the heart of the largest dental-practice broker and dental recruitment agency in the UK.