Tutbury Dental Practice, Burton-on-Trent

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As the recession started to bite in 2010, numbers of postponed appointments at Tutbury Dental Practice began to slowly rise and Principal, Gill Haskell, realised she needed to undertake a complete review of her business, closely examining every cost and the return provided by each investment.

Tutbury Dental Practice is a large 6-surgery practice located in Burton-on-Trent with 5,000 patients on plans. The practice is committed to providing a service for the under 18s and they do this by treating children within a small NHS contract. Gill is convinced of the pivotal role dental plans play in the efficient and cost effective operation of a dental practice, having originally used Practice Plan to convert the majority of her patients to private provision following the NHS contract changes of 2006.

Problem

  • Patients postponing appointments due to recessionary factors
  • Increasing costs associated with Practice Plan’s administration services
  • Desire for service better matched to practice’s needs

“When I looked closely at the value I was receiving I realised that some of the costs of my existing plan were justified by the smokescreen of ‘added value’ extras, which came as an integral part of the plan offering. Many of these additional things were simply irrelevant to my practice or, thanks to the excellent relationships I have established with my laboratory and materials supplier, I was able to discuss my needs and work out a deal that suited me, without the intervention of a 3rd party.”

Solution

  • Switch to DPAS to reduce costs
  • Use changeover to re-launch Tutbury’s practice branded plans
  • Retain support of a well established national company

Gill wanted to retain a practice-branded approach and in October 2010 she moved the administration of her plan to DPAS, as she felt they alone had a structure and organisation sufficiently established to give her the support she required. DPAS gave Gill a “refreshingly honest appraisal” of where her practice was and a detailed proposal of how they could assist in improving plan provision for the benefit of the practice and patients, whilst at the same time undertaking a significant re-brand of the practice and re-launch of the plan itself.

“I was visited in the first instance by Andrew Warren and was immediately impressed; both by his passion and undoubted experience in dentistry in general and the dental plan market in particular. Our DPAS Business Development Manager has also been equally important in providing an outstanding level of on-going support.”

Benefits

  • Fee-freeze for patients on-plan
  • Reinforced importance of routine oral care
  • Encouraged a team approach within the practice
  • Enabled investment in other areas of the practice infrastructure

The decision not to increase prices as a result of the re-brand avoided negative reprisals from patients. Instead, the approach was to re-introduce the plan and remind patients of the care levels included and reinforce the value of the 18-point dental examination, positioning it as a valuable contribution to patients’ oral care.

DPAS encouraged Gill to take a constructive approach and discuss the positive ways in which a plan ‘adds value’ to the patient offering. The outcome was a strategy aimed at building the profile of the dental plan and promoting benefits to patients, resulting in significantly increased numbers of patients on-plan. The practice benefited from the support of a number of DPAS personnel, one of whom was in the practice for a week at the time when letters were first distributed to patients. Bringing the team “on board” and making them feel part of the changeover was essential to ensuring the process ran smoothly. Gill’s association with DPAS has made her practice more efficient and enabled additional investment in resources and equipment to meet the legal obligations designated by HTM01-05, for the good of staff and patients alike.

“Our move to DPAS has been a very positive experience in which we have been able to reinforce the value of regular dental care to our patients. Financially, it has been and will continue to be very worthwhile and I am confident that we now have a long-term relationship with a company who can provide the administrative support we need to run a really efficient dental plan.”

To find out more about the Tutbury Dental Practice transfer and how DPAS can make your existing payment plan administration work more efficiently, please contact us.

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