Bedale Dental Practice, Yorkshire

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Having negotiated the trauma of the 2006 contract and successfully introduced a practice branded payment plan to 3,500 patients, Shauna Simpson and her husband, practice Principal Stephen, found themselves once again subject to external pressures in 2010 which required them to reassess and relaunch their plan.

With the help of DPAS they have dramatically improved patient retention in response to competition from new practices opening nearby, and the resulting increase in cashflow has also helped them to budget for the requirements of compliance and to deal with the wider economic conditions.

Problem

  • Reduction in regular attendees caused by economic climate
  • New NHS practices opened in the locality
  • Costly extension work to comply with HTM01-05 causing increased pressure on revenues

The previous 18 months had caused Shauna and Stephen to re-evaluate the value of their payment plan as external pressures began to have an impact on revenues. With a new group of NHS practices having opened in the locality, Bedale found that they were losing some patients who were finding the lure of ‘cheaper’ care too much to ignore. The arrival of this new competition was far from ideal as it coincided with costly extension work that the practice needed to undertake in order to comply with HTM01-05, so once again finances became of extreme importance. Compliance pressures necessitated an extension to be built to house a new decontamination area and with help from their DPAS Practice Consultant, Shauna decided they should publicise this as a positive story for patients and hold an official opening alongside which they would ‘relaunch’ their payment plan.

Solution

  • Relaunch existing payment plan
  • Use DPAS Practice Consultant as ‘sounding board’ for new ideas and to help with execution
  • Employ marketing strategies to increase patient take-up of the Bedale Dental Plan

Bedale’s five year relationship with DPAS had always been positive, but during the plan relaunch phase Shauna relied even more on the support of their Practice Consultant. In summer 2010 their regular meetings became monthly rather than quarterly, in order to help the practice refocus on the benefits of their payment plan. These meetings devised a strategy for communicating effectively with patients, culminating in a training session for the whole team and the relaunch of their Bedale Dental Plan.

The practice adopted a targeted approach to promote the Bedale Dental Plan to existing fee per item patients. Along with all their recall letters explaining the benefits of joining the plan, Bedale enclosed a flyer professionally designed by DPAS, thus giving the dentist and reception staff the option of opening up a conversation about plans when patients attended. They also developed a ‘special registration offer’, available for fee per item patients and new patients, if they signed up either at their initial consultation or next examination.

The support Shauna received from DPAS throughout the project was invaluable: “The way DPAS is organised is extremely efficient and the people are very approachable. I can always talk to my personal contacts, making for much less frustrating conversations than when you are talking to a nameless person in a large call centre. All the personnel at DPAS seem to be aware of our needs and I find this sense of continuity very comforting.”

Benefits

  • Numbers of patients on-plan increasing
  • Greater predictability in income levels
  • Relaunch of plan has galvanised a team spirit at the practice

Bedale is now reaping the rewards of their relaunch and their new found focus, as numbers of patients on-plan start to increase. The sense of loyalty that plan patients feel towards the practice also means they are less likely to search for alternative care elsewhere and finally, the greater predictability of income that comes with patients being on plan has helped Shauna and Stephen to budget for the unforeseen expenses that have been the result of HTM01-05 and CQC.

The additional benefit of having a focal point for the practice has meant that team members have been motivated by a common cause and have ‘bought into’ the strategy of promoting the plan. This unexpected benefit has helped to foster a genuine team spirit from which the whole practice and their patients are benefiting.

“DPAS are extremely efficient at administering our payment plan and have given us huge support over the past 5 years. I know DPAS are one of the lowest cost providers but this does not mean I have to compromise on support. I enjoy working with DPAS, because they leave us in control of our business but are there when we need them. They are the perfect business partner.”

To find out more about the Bedale plan relaunch and how DPAS can help you with your private payment plans, please contact us.

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