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Associate contracts in England and Wales

A comprehensive written agreement is needed to make sure that the rights, obligations and commercial interests of both the associate and the practice owner are clear.

Associates are self-employed dentists working in practices owned by other dentists or by dental companies. Where practice owners and associates work cooperatively the arrangement can work well for both parties – practice patients being cared for, the associate developing their career and both getting a fair reward for their work.

Being self-employed is attractive to associates. The practice owner may control the facilities and services provided, but the associate controls their day-to-day work, making independent professional judgements and taking full clinical responsibility for their work.

A written agreement describing the rights, obligations and commercial interests of both parties can enhance cooperative working and ensure sensible safeguards are in place in case of misunderstandings, as well as contribute towards the self-employed status of the associate.