Private practices edge ahead on profits

The average profit of UK private dental practices in the UK has outstripped those of NHS practices for the first time in nearly a decade.

Latest benchmarking statistics from the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL), published on 24 March, revealed that the average NHS practice making a profit of £129,000 per principal, compared to £131,000 in a private practice.

In 2013-14, the average gross fee income generated by a dentist working in a private practice was £248,000, compared to £180,000 for a dentist in an NHS practice. Earnings for associates rose by an average of around £700 per individual.

Meanwhile, practice expenses equated to 65 per cent of fee income for a NHS practice compared to 68 per cent for a private practices.

Business structures remained fairly static, with 58 per cent of the profession operating as sole traders, and the rest as partnerships or limited companies. The number of incorporated practices rose by only three per cent.

Ian Simpson, who carried out the analysis, said: “Income and profits are up across the board with all types of practice seeing increased profit and relatively unchanging costs. Fee income is up by £7k per principal in a typical NHS practice and by £23k in a typical private practice.”

He said private practices were picking up after the slump suffered in the years following the 2008 economic downturn, partly as a result of their having greater control over income than NHS practices and a greater ability to recover from poor trading results in the recession.

NASDAL chairman Nick Ledingham said: “Whilst there are most definitely some very difficult challenges ahead for both NHS dentists and private dentists, we are very pleased to see that the profession appears now to have weathered the economic storm.”

The experienced dental team at Milsted Langdon – including NASDAL member David Jacobs – can provide expert advice to help dental businesses further improve the profitability and financial efficiency of their operations.

For example, our Business Innovation service offers solutions designed to improve management information and budgeting and cash flow management. For more information, please contact us.

Posted in Dentists.