Finest Dental going into liquidation
27 April 2020
The Finest Dental chain of dental practices ceased trading in early February 2020. Since then (regardless of the COVID-19 lockdown) their practices have been closed leaving patients and the associate dentists and other staff who worked at those practices in an uncertain situation.
Unfortunately, for patients affected information from the company has been too little.
The BDA is not an oral health information service, so we are unable to provide guidance for patients on their individual circumstances. We understand that practice facilities had been locked by the owners of Finest Dental and that dentists have been prevented from using these facilities to provide ongoing care to patients.
Any solution to this will depend on what happens next to the company. In the meantime, any patient in pain or distress can access emergency NHS dental care through their local NHS Area Team or through
NHS 111 (please bear in mind that on Department of Health advice during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown
only urgent care can be provided).
Summary of current position for dentists who have been working at Finest Dental
Finest Dental is the trading name of a group of companies known as B&A Group (the main companies we understand are B&A Group, company number 08432871; B&A Group Holdings Limited, company number 10299013; and B&A Group Franchise Services Limited, company number 12178486; and there are a further 14 subsidiaries, each for a particular practice location).
Some creditors took compulsory liquidation proceedings in the High Court against companies within the B&A Group and the court has issued winding-up orders against the first two companies.
In both cases, Michaela Hall of Moore Kingston Smith has been appointed as liquidator. If you were an associate dentist at Finest Dental (or are anyone else who had any dealings with Finest Dental or B&A Group) you should contact the liquidator, email MHall@mks.co.uk
The insolvency process will probably involve the liquidator finding out who all the creditors are (this will include associates and patients who have made payments) and how much each person is owed. They will then collect up or sell all the business's assets and use the funds to pay the creditors. However, with insolvent companies it is likely that there will not be enough money to pay all creditors in full.
Finest Dental's former associates will need to tell the liquidator how much they are owed. Make sure you have copies of your associate contracts and details of the fees you earned ready, to give to the liquidator.
There is a set order in which creditors are paid, as an associate it is likely that you will be lower down this list as an unsecured creditor. As such it could be that the proportion of what you are owed that you will receive from the liquidator could be low.
However, discuss your status with the liquidator to see whether you could count as a preferential creditor (employees can be preferential creditors but self-employed associates may not be accepted as preferential creditors).
Incomplete courses of treatments
In terms of incomplete patient treatments that you may have been handling your obligations are to take reasonable steps to ensure that the patients can receive continuing care. At present we understand Finest Dental's practices are closed and so you are prevented from completing treatment – the BDA advises that the company should be responsible for making appropriate arrangements.
This situation is beyond the control of individual dentists at Finest Dental and they have acted in good faith and in accordance with their ethical responsibilities.
Should you be contacted by a patient of Finest Dental, explain that the practices have been closed due to factors beyond your control, reassure them that you are seeking urgent answers on how their care can be completed (once the COVID-19 lock-down has been lifted).
If any patient is in pain or distress advise them that emergency care to maintain their general oral health can be accessed through local NHS Area Team services and NHS 111 and provide them with contact details.
You should also liaise with your indemnity provider so that they are aware of your situation and hopefully assist you during this process. A number of patients have taken their concerns to the Dental Complaints Service, who are aware of Finest Dental’s insolvency and, we understand, are taking a realistic approach to the situation.
If you are contacted by the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) about any patients that you saw at Finest Dental you must seek advice from your indemnity provider.
The DCS has said that it will:
- Where patients have paid for a treatment plan but not commenced treatment, refer those patients to the liquidator in order to seek a refund. We believe that this is the majority of cases that the DCS is handling
- Where patients are part way through a course of treatment, they will seek to identify the associate who provided care and to liaise with them directly on local resolution of the patient’s concerns, which may involve you making arrangements for the completion of treatment. The costs for this would be a matter for discussion. If you are in this situation it is vitally important that you follow the advice of your indemnity provider on how to resolve the situation.
Care Clinic Group
In early March 2020 it became apparent that there may be a buyer for Finest Dental's assets (though not the companies or trading name). However, it seems that this proposal has fallen through. Any future rescue bid, either by the same group or others would require the approval of the liquidator.
The BDA is seeking further clarification on all the above matters and we will update you once we have any further details.
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