Dental things which keep me awake at night

Alan Suggett, Dental Business Unit Partner at UNW, talks about dental things that keep him awake at night.

Some practice goodwill values  - I say “some” as the market has become very polarized over recent months. If you have a large NHS contract with a high UDA rate, or a large private practice – happy days! A queue of Private equity backed corporates will form at your door. However, if you have a small NHS contract with a low UDA rate, or a very small private practice, particularly in an area of the UK where associate supply is poor, then join me in waking up at night worrying!

NHS GDS contract reform – A recent presentation by the CDO Sara Hurley inspired me, the evolution of Sir Jimmy Steele’s vision is popular with patients, practitioners, and via Prototype practices, seems to be working well. Unfortunately this was totally out of accord with a recent seminar in the North East where approx. 70 practice owners heard from 4 Prototype practitioners how Sir Jimmy’s vision (which they were enthusiastic about) had been blown out of the water by the practicality of the continuing obligation to perform activity/UDAs. Their conclusion is that the current versions of the reformed contract simply won’t work. As dental contract reform will be crucial to many of my clients I hope the CDO is right.

The NHS England “Dynamic Purchasing System” for contract tendering, and the PDS Ortho debacle – The two key aspects which keep me awake at night are the “Financial Capability and Capacity Assessment” traffic light tests – which aren’t fit for purpose (some LATs seem to be ignoring them anyway…but at least one isn’t!) and the fact that a UNW ortho client recently lost his contract after many years of devotion to the NHS, his well established practice to the south of London closed down on 31 March 2019. Is it fair to ruin the lives of dedicated NHS practitioners in the name of patient efficient commissioning? Although I wasn’t around in 1948 when the NHS began, weren’t medical GPs compensated for the loss of their goodwill?

NHS GDS contract incorporations – Parallel universes! Universe 1-  the Corporates, some practitioners who evaluate and embrace risk, and many, many practitioners who (together with their advisors) haven’t a clue about structures which breach NHS contracts, exclude dentists from the NHS Pension scheme, and create VAT liabilities! Universe 2 – NASDAL accountants and lawyers, some dental lenders, and the vast majority of practitioners.

Being a dental financial Don Quixote! – Don tilted at windmills, I tilt at unfairness in the dental financial systems of NHS England, the CQC. We have equal lack of success, maybe like Don I’m mad!


Alan Suggett

Dental Business Unit Partner



Posted by Gemma

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