Often, a dental practice will be owned and operated by more than one dental practitioner. Partnerships permit two or more partners to share the operational responsibilities of the practice and of course share the profits. This can have a positive effect on your practice or business both financially and operationally. If you are currently a member of a dental partnership or intend to become a dental partner, it is important to understand the implications of all partnership arrangements.
You may also operate the practice through an expense sharing agreement and whether you operate as a partnership or on an expense sharing basis usually depends on the advice of your accountants.
Do I need a Dental Partnership to Buy a Dental Practice?
Commonly, the purchase of an NHS dental practice will involve the formation of a partnership with the seller, where the seller is an individual provider or the sellers are members of an existing partnership. Buyers will either create a partnership or enter into the existing partnership with the Sellers, as part of the transfer of the practice. Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton can provide you with more information on the mechanics of this method when you contact us directly.
Why are Dental Partnerships necessary?
In addition to the practical benefits, a partnership can be used to protect the value and security of your practice. For instance, if you operate an NHS Practice as an individual, then have you thought about what happens if something were to happen to you? The GDS contract could be terminated and put out for re-tender. GDS contracts do not simply pass to beneficiaries under your Will and so some dentists look to put in place nominal partnerships with other dentists. You will no doubt have spent considerable money on the contract if you purchase the practice, or built up the goodwill in an existing contract and therefore would rightly want to protect this investment. Often, dentists look to add one or more practitioners to the GDS contract under in a partnership, so that its value can be protected. This can be complicated however and expert advice should be sought. Please do not hesitate to contact us if this is something you wish to discuss.
Will I need a Partnership Agreement?
Whilst a partnership can exist without a written partnership agreement, it is advisable to have formal written partnership agreements, and dental partnerships are no exception. Reliance on an informal and verbal agreement written agreements can have negative implications for your practice or business, particularly where a dispute arises between the partners – causing greater financial risk and disruption without a clear route to settlement. Please see our Partnership Dispute page for more information.
Help with your Dental Partnership?
Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton are dental law specialists, and have considerable experience in dealing with dental partnerships. We can assist with the drafting of the partnership agreement, CQC and GDS/PDS Contract matters.