Very few UK dental practices are purely private or NHS, most offer a mixture of the two. This means practices will have a combination of private patients and NHS patients. However, there is cross-over between the two groups, usually when NHS patients choose to purchase an individual service privately, for example receiving a check-up on the NHS and then paying privately for an elective procedure.
Offering NHS and private care alongside each other can address many issues faced by practitioners; however, the practitioner must ensure that the patient fully understands the arrangements and the costs involved.
While a mix of NHS and private care may be confusing for the patient, such arrangements offer the opportunity for all treatment needs and expectations to be met, increasing patient satisfaction and professional fulfilment.
In order to work for the NHS, dental graduates must first complete Dental Foundation Training (DFT) or Vocational Training (VT). Upon satisfactory completion, they are then able to apply for associate positions in dental practices across the UK.
For foreign dentists, there are other routes to working for the NHS.
You can find out more about working in a mixed practice in our Career Guide.