Across the dental industry, the last year has been a time of significant change for our customers, people, and operations. As a business we have managed to adapt to this change quickly whilst ensuring that the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff remains a top priority. We have made huge efforts to ensure everybody feels safe and comfortable in their working environment while adhering to government and CDO guidelines.
When there are so many moving pieces, communication is key. Our senior leadership team have been very focused on finding the most effective ways to communicate throughout this period and beyond.
And we listen. We have conducted regular engagement surveys with our clinicians to better understand the nuanced challenges they face as self-employed associates to us - a large corporate - and evolved our strategy accordingly. We know how important it is for clinical voices to be heard and valued.
To support this line of communication, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our UK Clinical Portal, which has been developed in collaboration with Bupa clinicians around the world to ensure that our dental teams have instant access to; Bupa news, best practice, international recruitment opportunities and more.
The welfare of our associates and practice teams has remained at the forefront throughout the crisis. We wanted to support them, so we set up a specific advance fund for our private clinicians as most were unable to access government schemes.
Bupa also set up an Emergency Support fund for colleagues experiencing severe and urgent financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Being part of a multi-faceted healthcare group has been amazingly helpful for access to resources and support for our people, including 24-hour health and wellbeing phonelines and access to free financial advice.
We appreciate that our self-employed clinicians face unique challenges when it comes to protecting their health and wellbeing and the senior clinical team and I have been working with Bupa’s health experts to develop a bespoke support programme.
Now we have moved to routine dentistry, we continue running engagement events to ensure our clinicians have an opportunity to keep across the latest clinical developments. We conduct regular reviews across the organisation, sharing key lessons and best practice so everyone can learn from the colleagues they may not come into contact within the day to day job.
The new norm
In our new norm, we have strict social distancing measures in place, enhanced protection for patients and colleagues through the adoption of enhanced levels of PPE and more stringent protective and disinfection procedures within our practices.
The positive news of the vaccine rollout has been very welcome, and we have seen colleagues receive their first dose and share their joy. We will of course continue to take any guideline changes in our stride and offer treatments to our patients as best as we can with a high standard of care.
2021 and beyond
We’ve had a strong start to 2021 with the new tools and processes we’re using to make our everyday working lives better are already making a big impact. We continue to invest in the technology and digital solutions across the board to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for patients and for clinicians and practice staff.
We remain hugely positive about the future of dentistry and continue hiring across all our geographies. Due to the size and scope of our business, we have multiple ways in which clinicians can join us to further their career, with a wide variety of self-employed associate positions available, as well as our Employed Dentist roles.
We’ve designed this employment option to give dentists a greater choice and stability in a difficult market. Some of the advantages of taking an employed position with us include salary, paid holidays, GDC registration, free indemnity insurance, no lab charges and full suite of market-leading employee benefits.
We also continue to expand our senior clinical team with new leadership and management roles. A number of these roles are part-time allowing clinicians to continue to provide dental care whilst expanding their knowledge, skills, and experience in a broader clinical role.There is so much room for opportunity here.
COVID-19 brings into focus how we are set up as a business and how this becomes our strength in challenging times. We’re unique because 100% of our profits go back into making sure we can give the best patient care possible. Importantly, this gives us the peace of mind that we can support our people.
As a large dental provider Bupa is in a strong position to adapt to changes in the dental industry and invest in what the future of dentistry will look like, providing varied career pathways for dentists to satisfy their ambitions as they continue to develop their skills and interests over time. We’re proud of our collaborative working relationships with key trade and health bodies to help shape a positive future for UK dentistry.
In a moment where community, togetherness and collaboration are what give us our resolve, join me in a business where this is the experience every day.
Sarah Ramage – Clinical Director Bupa Dental Care