THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Here we go again

For some reading this post, today will be the first day of the new UDA year and:

  1. a sigh of relief that you can get back to delivering NHS dentistry after completing your UDAs some weeks ago

  2. a celebration on finishing on target

  3. a weekend of stress, wondering just how big the latest clawback will be and how on earth you can carry on

  4. just the grind of having to start all over again, thinking about the deployment of resources, time and people in the next 12 months

A moment for me to reflect on earlier times, back in the late 90’s, when I was pilloried for suggesting that dentists should work to production targets.

Then along came the Government.

Here are some interesting KPIs that have emerged from the last 15 years and may help you in designing your plan for the next year:

  1. the average NHS associate in an owner-managed practice will complete 7,000 UDAs in a year

  2. the average NHS Principal will complete 11,000 UDA’s in the same time

  3. UDA values paid to the owners are generally heading down

  4. UDA values paid to associates are generally heading down (ref the £5.00 UDA recently spotted)

  5. the single biggest challenge in hitting a UDA target is getting the apathetic patients to turn up

It does make one wonder why anybody would bother?

Let’s not even get started on the proposed future changes in funding and measurement.

NHS dentistry is inexorably becoming the playing field for Insurance Companies, Private Equity fund managers and wealthy families with diverse interests in healthcare and property. All people who have other agendas beyond the provision of long-term dental care:

  1. flip, flog, float – ASAP

  2. cross-selling of products

  3. property accumulation

Experience shows that they are not particularly motivated by up-selling private treatment options – just too much like hard work. In any event, an organisation full of box-tickers, middle managers and career preservationists is unlikely to understand the prerequisites of building trust and rapport that precede private treatment sales.

Better to hit UDA target with the minimum of people, cost and investment.

Those private individuals operating in the NHS sector with bank finance are modern day heroes (or, perhaps, a dying breed?). They do understand the benefits of up-selling. Their NHS commitment is seen as a foundation from which private sales can evolve.

Bloomin’ hard work though. It seems a lot tougher than just learning how too market direct to the public for private patients (and a lot less risky or competitive when done properly).

Maybe some of them are hoping to sell out to the aforementioned “bigger boys”? If so – my advice would be to sell now – I genuinely don’t think goodwill valuations can get any more insane.

Different strokes – it takes all sorts.

For those who continue with their NHS contracts….

Ready, steady, GO!

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