Staring in the face of uncertaintyNews
Posted by: The Probe 19th April 2020
We’re living in tumultuous times for business owners. After all, with huge changes to the status quo such as Brexit looming on the horizon, it’s easy to see how business owners could be feeling unsure on how to move forward and whether certain decisions are a good idea.
In many ways this makes sense – we have no crystal ball – and whether for better or worse, these changes are coming. As such, it’s a good idea to make prior preparations and consider the different ways that Brexit may impact your practice moving forwards.
Perhaps one of the biggest potential consequences of Brexit will be the changes to staff and the number of qualified professionals entering the UK. According to data gathered by the BDA, a significant proportion of people working in the UK dental sector are of EU nationality.[i] No one really knows what the impact will be on these individuals, but there’s always a chance that many will return back to their countries of origin. That’s not even to mention the fact that under new rules following Brexit, that the number of EU nationals coming to the UK looking for work is likely to decrease – both of these issues could very easily result in staff shortages.
What we also need to consider, from this point of view, is the long-term effects. It may be the case that this shortage in staff inspires a boom of interest among British nationals looking to enter positions such as dental nursing. But it could also just as easily cause a long-term deficit in numbers that will be difficult to overcome. In this scenario, a shortage of dental professionals may have further impacts on provision of care, especially as many practices are already feeling overburdened.
Of course, this is all hearsay at the moment, and it may come to pass that this is a non-issue. Regardless, it’s definitely something to bear in mind, especially if you are looking to hire any new staff in the coming months.
Supply and demand
Another thing to put on the top of the list of things to think about is how any new trading deals could affect the availability of some products. It’s likely that as the UK negotiates new trade deals after dropping out of the EU, that certain products may become more difficult to acquire, or only become available to the UK way after other countries around the globe.
The same goes for certain healthcare equipment and medicines. Currently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) grants pharmaceutical companies the ability to seek approval for their new drugs. The EU currently represents around a quarter of the global market, while the UK alone is just 3 per cent. As such, any new innovations are likely to seek approval from big economies like the US and the EU first, and then approach the UK much later. It’s worth remembering that a huge majority of drugs that we use in healthcare industries come from the EU, and this means if we are no longer part of the EMA, that we could face some significant challenges.
How to move your practice forward
These are just some of the major concerns surrounding Brexit and its potential impact on dentistry. Due to the complex nature of the beast, there are multiple other ways that practices and business owners could be affected, but no concrete facts that we can really cling on to until we leave the EU and see how events unfold.
Some more generalised consequences, like the potential plummet in value of sterling, may colour every decision moving forward. Certainly, this would definitely be something to consider if you are looking to sell your practice or buy a new one, as a lot depends on the stability of these markets. It’s also worth considering what less disposable income would mean for numbers of patients seeking care – many already don’t feel dental treatment is a top priority, and that means there may be dwindling patient numbers depending on how things pan out.
Obviously, Brexit is likely to cause disruption in the short-term – we can pretty much guarantee that – but it could also lead to a number of long-term consequences that dental professionals should prepare as best they can for.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to seek the help of Independent Financial Advisers, such as the award-winning team at money4dentists.This way, you can get guidance on anything you’re unsure about heading forwards, including possible sales, recruitment, and financial matters.
Embracing the future
Whatever happens, there’s no way of knowing until Brexit becomes a reality. There’s every chance that there could be some very positive consequences of leaving the EU, as well as the possibility of a few challenges. Regardless, with the right advice on your side, you can ensure that your business will continue to prosper.
For more information please call 0845 345 5060 or 0754DENTIST.
Richard T Lishman
Managing Director of the 4dentists Group of companies
[i] BDA. British Dental association Response To The Migrant Advisory Committee’s Call For Evidence on EEA-Workers In The UK Labour Market. Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/693464/British_Dental_Association.pdf [Last accessed January 2020].
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