Dentistry - One year on

It’s hard to believe that this month marks the anniversary of our return to a very different world of clinical practise.

A year on, after a mammoth effort by every individual across the sector, we have settled into our new ways of working, seeing as many patients as possible while keeping everyone safe.

However, with further change on the horizon after summer, Nyree Whitley, Clinical Director of {my}dentist, provides some top tips for clinicians on preparing for the future

1. Maximise efficiency

Later this year, once standard operating procedures allow, the NHS is expected to start requiring dentists to achieve close to their full UDA agreements. Key to increasing capacity is the efficient management of surgery time. We have undertaken extensive training with all practice teams to help clinicians improve their productivity. We have also introduced new processes, such as ensuring that all equipment and materials are in the surgery for the day, to reduce the need to leave the room, as well as providing teams with support in carrying out efficient cleaning and using smart diaries: our focus is on maximum, safe capacity and supporting clinicians to get back to growing their careers again.

In addition, we’ve started a paperless pilot to further maximise efficiency. Medical history forms, ‘Smile Checkers’ - which are used to get patients  to rate what they would like to change about their smiles -  and Covid forms, are now completed in advance of appointments so that the necessary information is available in advance for the dentist.

2. Invested in technology to support

The clinical dashboard we developed has made a huge difference to clinicians in understanding their UDA performance. It lets dentists see progress at a glance so they can plan extra sessions if needed or confidently book days away, giving greater confidence that they’re on track. We expect that this will have even greater benefit to clinicians as the expectations increase later in the year.

If you don’t have something like this at your practice, consider speaking to the principal to see whether something like this could help you in managing your activity thresholds so the whole practice can grow capacity.

3. Manage patient expectations

While we wait for the announcement on 21 June, those of us in the dental profession already know that the in-practice experience will not change in the short-term, which we anticipate will be confusing for patients. And, even when our capacity increases, we will still have huge demand from patients needing treatment and routine check-ups. So, as we have done throughout the pandemic, we will keep our patients informed by email of the reasons we’re not yet operating as normal. To date, we’ve sent 17million emails to patients to keep them informed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

4. Ensure you choose a practice that supports you when you’re settling in

We know that clinicians have reservations about starting a new job, even if they really want to, because they know it will take time to build up a patient base, meaning they may not meet their NHS expectations. For that reason, we’re currently offering a grace period of two months where we’ll pay dentists 1/12 of their annual UDA target, minus a lab fee, while they settle in.

Dentists can also choose to join {my}options from day one, which is our affordable private dentistry scheme that bridges the gap between NHS and full private dentistry, to further support their earnings.

The future at {my}dentist

Although we’re not quite back to normal yet we are emerging from the pandemic stronger than before, which is entirely down to the effort and commitment of the full {my}dentist team. According to our last survey results, an extra 25% of our clinicians would now recommend us as a place to work, while the measures we have put into place to safely improve access haven’t gone unnoticed by our patients as we received a 94.4% recommendation score in December 2020.

If you are interested in a career at {my}dentist visit

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