Dental Tribune interview with Amanda Maskery | Birmingham Dental Show 2015
‘As Chair of the Association of Specialist Providers to Dentists (ASPD) and Head of Dental at Newcastle-based law firm Sintons & Partners, Amanda Maskery advises dentists on legal issues on a daily basis. Working closely with the dental community in northern England, she will be offering her expertise to visitors to this year’s Dentistry Show in Birmingham (Stand E76). Dental Tribune UK had the opportunity to speak with her about the new National Health Service (NHS) contract and its impact on dentists in the UK.
Dental Tribune: Ms Maskery, you have been heading ASPD for over a year. What have been the major challenges during that time?
Amanda Maskery: There are continually challenges for the dental profession, which we at ASPD have to address. During the past year, we have seen a great deal of unrest among dental professionals due to the potential introduction of the new NHS contract. As a result, there is much uncertainty as to what lies ahead.
The new NHS dental contract has indeed stirred up some debate in the UK dental community. Is this reflected in the number of clients you see and the kind of requests that you have received from dentists?
There has been a marked rise in the number of people wanting to sell their practice and exit the profession perhaps earlier than they would otherwise have done. This has resulted in corporates buying up practices in increased numbers, but also offers the opportunity to young dentists to purchase a practice from someone leaving the profession. My team and I work extensively throughout the UK and saw a significant increase in sales and transactions last year.
At Sintons, we have a ten-strong specialist dental team and are regarded as being among the leading advisers in the UK. We are receiving new instructions from clients across the country as a result of the changing nature of the industry and uncertainty around the new contract.
What other issues are you confronted with on a daily basis?
There is genuine difficulty in getting things done according to a particular timescale owing to the levels of red tape that exist within the Care Quality Commission and NHS England.
When are dentists advised to seek legal advice in general?
Key times are if the structure of the practice is changing, in which case legal advice from an employment and governance point of view will be very important. Obviously, it is essential when buying or selling a practice.
It is also advisable to seek the advice of a knowledgeable legal professional regarding the new NHS dental contract, after discussions with local area teams.
Providing advice to dentists requires an in-depth understanding of the complexities facing dentists. How do you keep up to date with the field?
I have a very strong network of influential dentists, among them chairpersons of local dental committees, representatives on national bodies, and entrepreneurial dentists who know and understand the marketplace. At the Dentistry Show, my firm is sharing a stand with Anushika Brogan and Damira Dental Studios, which has an extensive portfolio across the south of England. She is one of many connections who are able to update me from a dentist’s point of view, ensuring I have true insights into the profession.
In my native North East England, we are heavily involved in the dental community and work closely with Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences to understand the profession from its outset. Further, being Chair of ASPD, as well as a member of the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers, gives me access to a wide professional network.
As a lawyer, you encounter developments in dentistry very early on. Where do you see the greatest challenges and opportunities for dentists in the UK currently and in the future?
We will see an increasingly corporate-heavy market in the UK, but there will also be opportunities for young dentists to buy into practices, since dentists are exiting the profession owing to the new contract.
Banks and funders are also very much open for business with deals in the health care sector, and this offers another avenue for dentists to acquire their own practice or practices and be able to secure the finance to do so.’
0191 226 7838