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GDPUK Q&A with Simon Reynolds of Patient Plan Direct

GDPUK took the time to interview Simon Reynolds – Commercial Director of Patient Plan Direct, one of the UK’s fastest growing and most cost effective plan providers, as well as a GDPUK partner.

In the past six months more practices than ever before have opted to work with Patient Plan Direct, either launching a new plan for the first time or transferring an existing base of plan patients from another plan provider. Jonny Jacobs of GDPUK took the time to find out more about Patient Plan Direct’s success:

Jonny GDPUK: Please give us a brief background to how you ended up working in the dental industry?

Simon: “Following my studies in the North West I stuck around the Manchester area and joined Patient Plan Direct’s parent company, First Capital Cashflow, as a business development associate working with both the sales and marketing teams.

“I eventually focused on the marketing side of things and after undertaking a diploma in digital marketing, took up the role of marketing manager at Patient Plan Direct, going on to progress through to my current role as commercial director – managing the business development and marketing teams. I have been involved with Patient Plan Direct for almost five years now, in which time the company has significantly evolved and grown year on year.”

Jonny GDPUK: For those that don’t know of Patient Plan Direct, can you give us a brief potted history?

Simon: “Patient Plan Direct is a dental plan provider similar to the likes of Denplan, Practice Plan and DPAS. The company was formed in 2008 as a subsidiary of our parent company First Capital Cashflow – a long established payments bureau providing payments related services and technology.

“We have embraced technology, cut out a lot of unnecessary paper based administration and benefited from the economies of scale and efficiencies nurtured from our parent company, thus cutting a lot of our own cost bases – resulting in lower fees for our clients!

“Since our inception we’ve sustained our low cost, flat and transparent fee structure of £1 per patient per month (inclusive of VAT and patient Worldwide A&E cover underwritten by Hiscox) whilst other plan providers have marginally increased their administration fees each year.

“Since the company formed, our team has grown and our service delivery and support has evolved in line with market demands. We now work with over 300 practices across the breadth of the UK, helping them to develop, grow and retain a solid base of plan patients.”

Jonny GDPUK: How does Patient Plan Direct differ to other plan providers?

Simon: “Our core proposition is our low cost fee structure, enabling a dental practice to maximise the income and profitability a dental plan generates. It is our ethos to maintain this position in the market, at the same time ensuring we provide first-class training alongside business and marketing support to ensure we can help a practice reach its objectives.

“Our fee structure can easily prove to be 2-3 times more cost effective than other plan providers, enabling a practice with even a modest base of plan patients to easily make significant cost savings year on year in comparison to working with other plan providers. Moreover, we’re very focused on flexibility and branding, offering a fully practice branded solution with the freedom for a practice to determine their own plan offering, structure and price point.

There may be some misconceptions that our service is a no frills / vanilla option when it comes to dental plan administration. However, on the contrary, whilst we don’t offer support in other areas such as CQC guidance, hold annual golf days, invite ‘key’ clients to trips abroad, or hand out ice creams at dental shows, we do invest in our team, processes, technology and support whilst keeping our costs to a minimum and passing these savings on to the many happy practices that work with us."

Jonny GDPUK: What trends are you seeing in the payment plans market?

Simon: “The biggest trend I have noticed for some time now is the lack of appetite from practitioners to either introduce or continue to grow an existing capitation based plan such as Denplan Care. There are so many reasons this is the case, which I could talk about separately for hours on end.  We have worked with many practices that have transferred from another plan provider and opted to put a cap on their capitation plans (only keeping existing capitation patients on this type of plan), opting to only promote and grow a maintenance based plan moving forward.

“The other noticeable trend is the increase in principal dentists making the switch to private dentistry and using a dental plan as a vehicle to make the transition, enabling their patients to budget with a monthly payment to see their preferred dentist. Of course this is all in line with not keeping all their eggs in one basket in light of the uncertainty around the future of the NHS. My team and I relish the opportunity to get involved in this type of plan launch, delving into the viability analysis and financial modelling to identify and recommend the best strategy for the principal, practice and patients.

“Finally, we’ve worked with a number of practices recently that have decided not to take on a plan provider transfer for a number of reasons, but instead have opted to run a new plan administered by Patient Plan Direct alongside their existing plan, taking advantage of cost savings in admin fees  for new patients joining the practice’s plan.”

Jonny GDPUK: How long have you been aware of GDPUK? Why do you think it works so well?

Simon: “I have been aware of GDPUK for as long as I’ve been involved in dentistry. It’s the place I usually hear about the latest news and opinion. As such, I visit the site daily to keep up to speed on what’s new in the world of dentistry.  With all the challenges that the dental profession faces these days (many of which are well documented and discussed within GDPUK), it’s so important there is a place where dental professionals can freely express opinion, discuss ideas and offer each other advice, feedback and moral support.

“Every credit to yourself and Tony for keeping the forum running for what is now coming up to 20 years! Long may it continue.”

Jonny GDPUK: As an advertiser on the site, have you found the site a good place to gain business?

Simon: “Without doubt the site has helped raise our brand awareness and helped us extend our message to market, educating the industry on our service proposition. We have had plenty of new enquiries and new clients that initially explained “we saw you on GDPUK”.

“I see the forum as very well respected and trusted amongst the industry; as such it’s a fantastic site to attach our brand to.”

As a private plan provider, how do you see the future of NHS dentistry panning out?

Simon: “Now we have the general election out of the way and details of the prototype dental contracts are becoming a hot topic of discussion, I think it’s safe to say that irrespective of what the new contract eventually looks like, employment under the NHS is not likely to provide greater income for less graft and a stress free life. As such, I’m pretty certain the NHS won't be for everyone and as there was in 2006 there will be a noticeable shift in the number making the move to practicing privately – a process which has already begun.

“Clearly if a dentist or practice is considering the switch from NHS to private, the introduction of a dental plan is a very obvious and proven strategy to achieve the move successfully and retain happy patients.”


Contact Details for Simon:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 08448486888

Mob: 075407063232



Twitter: @PatientPlan

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GDPUK Q&A Session with Keith Hayes

Keith pictured with his mug for
2000 posts on GDPUK
Here at GDPUK towers we have conducted a short interview with Keith Hayes, who is a retired dentist and currently runs a business called RightPath4 which advises dental practices on CQC inspections. Keith is a keen user of GDPUK and incredibly passionate about dentistry in the UK. We hope you enjoy reading some of his thoughts and ideas for UK Dentistry.
JJ:Please give us a brief background to your dental career?
KH:I’m celebrating a joint 120th birthday party with my dear wife and RightPath4 partner in crime in exactly one month. I qualified from the Royal London Hospital, fount of all knowledge in 1977. 
I returned to teach undergrads part time as well as joining a partnership in a mixed practice for 25 years; selling to a small Corporate in 2000.
I then started a private squat in a village setting and built the practice quickly to be three dentists and two hygienists working 6 days a week. Unfortunately I needed to take early retirement owing to an arthritic problem and this showed me that retirement was never going to be a suitable option for me! 
I have also been Clinical Director for a small Corporate as well as a compliance organisation. I have started an MSc Healthcare Management and Governance and my dissertation topic is ‘Efficacy and the CQC, on the right path?’
I am still a dental registrant, paying my indemnity as I believe I can’t advise others unless I too sometimes share the pain and disappointment we feel at the hands of those who claim to be our elders. Fortunately I still feel that Dentistry was exactly the right career choice for me.
JJ:How did you end up becoming so involved with all things CQC?
KH:Since 2009, I have become interested in how we are regulated in dentistry. Around the same time I began posting on GDPUK.
Probably as a result of my articles and occasional outspoken postings; I was invited to work with the CQC by the National Dental Adviser and enjoyed immensely being able to add my thoughts on dental regulation as well as making my suggestions for appointing dental bank expert advisers and then carrying out a great many dental practice inspections. Dental practice inspection is stressful not only for those on the receiving end and it’s extremely important that inspectors are calibrated and proportionate with their judgements. I believe that the new round of inspections starting in April will make significant improvements and will also allow practices to feel they have been endorsed by passing a more focused inspection rather than admonished by a less relevant generic one.
JJ:How long have you used GDPUK? What do you enjoy about using it?
KH:I’ve been a member since 2008 and that means I have averaged making almost two postings per day! I think this demonstrates how useful I have found being able to be an active member of a professional group. Too often, especially now days with so many pressures heaped upon the dentist, it is all too easy to think you are alone or unique with these problems. I have often been helped in a practical way to come up with a solution to a dilemma and I hope I have managed to help a few colleagues with theirs. From the size of my daily email inbox; I think we can say that there are a lot more lurkers than posters on GDPUK.
Whenever I am invited to speak at a meeting, I always take a straw poll of GDPUK er’s in the audience. It surprises me still that there are many out there who have yet to tap into this fantastic resource, probably the best we have by far.
JJ:As an advertiser on the site, have you found the site a good place to gain business and credibility?
KH:Well it’s always the first site I would go to when considering advertising my product. Not only do I seem to have a great response, but I find the quality of the inquiry is often at a higher level of understanding than other sources. It really is easier to help someone who knows what they are looking for.
I got a stunningly informative and significant response to my CQC Efficacy survey (nearly 200 replies) and the CQC are listening to what we have said.
At dental exhibitions, it never ceases to amaze and thrill me at the numbers of colleagues who tell me they follow my postings and are then encouraged to ask me their questions. I retired (I thought) a little while back, but I can tell you that I have never felt as involved in dentistry than I am now; much of the credit for this goes to GDPUK, thank you.
JJ:What changes do you expect to see in the CQC over the next few months? and also moving forward over the next decade?
KH:I think they are concentrating on the new changes they have made in the inspection process and will be surveying all practices to provide feedback following on from a visit. I personally think their survey is too long (9 pages) and should not be mandatory with identification as this may stifle any true opinions. The CQC have asked me to repeat my survey later in the year and I hope this will give a true reflection of their performance.
I am hopeful that John Milne will bring greater understanding of dentistry to the CQC and I still hope that I will be allowed to contribute my sixpenneth.
All providers of health services require regulation and yet it must be sensible, appropriate and fairly applied. I believe the CQC started with a very broad and ill-defined mandate; have listened and focused more clearly on the nuances of dental practice. They now need to carry the profession with them by demonstrating that when businesses make sensible improvements and work with clearly defined systems and an open and positive team culture, they become better businesses not only for the owners but also the patients and staff.  If the CQC can use more carrot and less threat of stick, we may yet see real benefits over the next ten years. There is always a risk however that the CQC is used by some people for their own agenda; I hope this will not continue.
JJ:What are your predictions for UK dentistry over the next 5 years?
KH: Wow, crystal ball time!
I hoped that we were about to have an honest debate about what we can and what we can’t afford to provide in the NHS. Sadly it seems that all politicians of whatever creed will want to dance around their handbags for fear of being attacked by daring to suggest that the NHS is something less than perfect. This is of course a terrible lost opportunity to design a high quality core system which allows the profession to discuss all options and encourage patients to take responsibility for their chosen path. If we could allow the profession to deliver all that we are capable of without these artificial barriers of NHS vs Private, then I believe UK dentistry would indeed become world class.
At the present time, if I were 30 years younger, I would be looking to enhance my skills and use them in my own private practice. I believe that we may have to allow the Corporates to take on most NHS dentistry and to dramatically shift the skilling mix to allow the most cost effective person to provide each aspect of care.
JJ:Which three people from the world of dentistry would you invite round to your house for a dental dinner party?
KH:I’m afraid that at the moment I don’t have names for two of my dinner guests as I would want to invite the new CDO as a person who has current wet fingered experience of actually delivering the expected standards required by the GDC and the CQC and who is also co-opted into a senior position on the GDC executive.
My second guest would be the new CEO of the GDC, who would also be a dental registrant of course and in a much better position to both put patients first and understand how dental teams can be expected to deliver. I could not invite someone who has little relevant understanding of operating a dental practice as I fear they would be uncomfortable guests.
My third guest would be the Secretary of State for Health, although I suspect I may need to draw up another place name in the near future!
The theme for the evening would be a murder mystery; ‘Who was most responsible for murdering NHS Dentistry?’
JJ: Thanks Keith
For further information on Right Path 4 and how they can help your dental practice please check out
If you would like to further information on please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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