Reports on the Healthwatch report in The Guardian newspaper over the weekend, suggesting that "patients are struggling to get NHS dental care across England" and "NHS patients told to go private" are unlikely to help the PR image of the profession in these troubled times.
You can read the articles:
For some time now panelists on our Business Confidence Forum have warned that both the media and the public would have little sympathy for protestations that working to a 45% target (for 100% of pay) was a challenge - especially when the patients themselves were either out of work - or working at 100% or more of their pre-Covid hours.
On the ground, what's important to me this morning is that you anticipate the problems that might be faced by your Front of House and TCO teams as they deal with patients enquiries in this climate.
Over the last few weeks, I've been working with my clients on a Lockdown 3.0 Frequently Asked Questions list and, as of this morning, we have created a list of around 50 of the most common questions that patients are asking.
In the next few days we will be sharing that list internally, with suggested responses for FOH and TCO team members.
Perhaps we can add a new question this morning:
"Is what I've read in the papers true about dentists charging £1,700 privately for an NHS procedure that costs £60?"
This kind of media coverage is the last thing we need right now and, of course, seems so unfair to those who are going the extra mile to maintain excellent standards of customer service and clinical care.
My message this morning is to make sure that your team are prepared for the inevitable patients who will make reference to this coverage.