The press and in particular the Times has been having a pop at dentists this last couple of weeks with headlines such as (click to read)
Personally, I’m left saddened by the reports but not surprised. There are opportunists and gamers in all professions and sectors — the press is full of stories about them, from rogue traders to dodgy plastic surgeons.
However, what is the real state of play in dentistry? Well, at the risk of getting a mountain of hate mail, I suggest that many dentists go to work not because they have a passion for saving the nation’s oral health but for the money. We all have mortgages to pay and a lifestyle to fund and dentists are generally self employed, meaning that the more they work (or the more quickly they work) the more they earn…
In support of this, I recently met NHS orthodontists earning seven-figure profits, NHS dentists seeing in excess of 60 patients a day and private dentists working 50 hour weeks. I could go on! Money is driving these folk and I make no judgment about that. The status quo in dentistry has been that dentists should earn a high salary and most of the dentists I meet are earning between £90k and £250k/annum. High earnings by anyone’s standards, and this at a time when many professions have seen salaries fall, including vets, pharmacists, architects and airline pilots.
It seems to me that dentists are not prepared to earn less and that some will do whatever it takes to earn what they consider to be their due, including using cheap materials, cheap labs, cheap staff and tatty facilities. Dentists are not salaried and so they are in a privileged position where they can maintain their high salaries by the way in which they practice. Those who do this to the extreme and get caught find themselves in the press.
The problem for the rest of us is that such press reports erode trust with patients and raise their level of suspicion. So, the good guys have to work harder at building and maintaining trust and being utterly transparent in what they do and how they charge for it. Anything less will leave your patients wondering whether you are above suspicion…
If you would like some help with growing your practice, developing your patient journey, and working less for more reward, then contact me for a chat on:
m. 07770 403576