I was recently approached by a dentist who until now has been working on a single-handed basis. He was eager to make sure he had considered all the legal points he needed to before taking on his first associate.
This is a significant step for a dentist and it’s vital to prepare in an appropriate way before you do this.
The legal points you need to take on board are the same as those for dentists with existing associates.
It may seem a pessimistic approach as you embark on a relationship with your new associate, but as no one can see into the future you need to protect your practice from potential disputes that can cause disruption and cost you money.
You can do this when you get a suitable associate contract in place.
Don’t assume an ‘off the shelf’ contract will provide you with the protection you need. There are standard contracts that you can pick up from the BDA and so on, but if you believe your practice is unique, your associate contract should be drawn up for your particular requirements.
Firstly, make sure your contract protects your practice goodwill.
Should your associate leave in the future, you need to make sure they don’t take any of your patients or team members with them. This can happen in the absence of a contract or when a contract is lacking in this area.
The contract also needs to clarify your associate is self-employed so there can never be a dispute about their status and their employment rights.
Make sure your contract is given the time and attention it needs. You can ask a specialist dental lawyer suchGoodman Grant to work with you to draw it up.
Finally, bear in mind that an NHS contract should never be in an associate’s name. It belongs to your practice so keep it with you.
Take note of these points and you can enjoy a productive relationship with your associate which helps you take your practice to where you want it to go.
Setting up an appropriate associate contract is very important. I’ll gladly discuss these points further with you. Simply enter your query or comment below and I’ll reply promptly. Or you call me on 01249 712074 if you’d prefer to chat.