Whilst many groups continue to expand and hunt for more practices for their groups there must now be some caution in their approach.
Practices are closing. NHS contracts are being handed back. People are asking questions.
The dental market is still predominantly owned by single practice owner/manager/dentists. But the field has been changing and evolving in the last 15 years. At Brabners we are seeing more practices changing hands into either small or large groups. On most transactions of this nature the NHS are co-operative. They have good relationships with practice managers within the groups. They are often willing to proceed quickly and efficiently to keep the group happy.
However, when NHS contracts are being handed back the goodwill will only stretch so far. Practices closing is a headache for them. It makes them look bad.
It can absolutely be the right business decision to close a practice and not continue to throw good money after bad. However, concern must be rising for the reputational damage this is doing to 'groups' as a whole within the NHS dental sector.
The situation raised questions over the use of private organisations to run public services. He said: “This government needs to realise that carelessly hacking off bits of our public services and selling it to the highest bidder is not the best way to run a country. I will be raising this matter with the minister responsible over the coming few days.”