Wesleyan donates £65,000 to BMA research project on PPE

The Wesleyan Foundation has made a donation of £65,000 to support research into the effects of wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for prolonged periods. This study will help to evidence the repercussions PPE has on doctors’ and nurses’ health and ability to perform their roles.

PPE is designed to prevent disease transmission in high-risk scenarios. During the COVID-19 pandemic its use increased within medical environments, and this trend is predicted to continue. Dr Christopher Mullington, MBBS, FRCA, BSc(Hons) and PhD & Dr Helen Jones from Imperial College London are leading the research project for the British Medical Association (BMA) with the goal of helping to improve working conditions for medical professionals in the event of a future pandemic.

Dr Christopher Mullington, Principal Investigator and Consultant Anaesthetist said; “During the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS staff wore PPE throughout 12-hour shifts without breaks. We need to shine a light on an overlooked issue that PPE can negatively impact the physical and mental well-being of the doctors and nurses that wear it.

“PPE limits heat loss and places wearers at risk of heat illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This study will quantify the impact of wearing PPE throughout 12-hour shifts and will help highlight the need for interventions to improve working conditions.”

Mario Mazzocchi, Wesleyan Group Chief Executive, said: “Many of our customers are medical professionals and were on the front line of the pandemic dealing with immense pressures and challenges every day – we will be forever grateful for their hard work and dedication.

“In addition to the financial advice we offer, our mutuality means we can invest in helping the professions we serve, we hope that  donating to this important project, through our Wesleyan Foundation, will result in helping doctors well-being and ease their challenging working conditions.”

The BMA Foundation said; “As a charity, the BMA Foundation is fully reliant upon the generosity of donors. Without the money received as donations we would not be able to fund medical research and continually strive to improve health.”

In 2017 Wesleyan launched the Wesleyan Foundation as part of their commitment to supporting great causes that are important to their members and the communities in which they live and work. The Foundation has since donated over £5m and supported more than 440,000 people across 500 different UK charities, community groups, research projects and social enterprises.

Wesleyan Head of Dental discusses next week’s Spring Budget

Ahead of next week’s Spring Budget, Iain Stevenson, head of dental at the Wesleyan Group, the specialist financial services mutual for dentists, commented on what dental professionals might expect the Chancellor to reveal:

“This budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to help improve dental services,” Stevenson explained. “Dental practices are currently facing a one-two punch in the form of a planned Corporation Tax rise, and the end of the ‘super deduction’, which provided tax relief on investment.

“While it’s widely expected that the Corporation Tax rise will go ahead, we’re urging the government not to make the mistake of taking a backward step on encouraging business investment. From a dental perspective, anything that encourages and facilitates more capital expenditure in practices is good for the country as a whole – improving the quality of care they can offer patients.”

He added: “I’d also like to see a significant increase to the NHS spending budget, earmarked specifically for NHS dentistry, a CPI-linked increase to UDA rates, and measures that would provide more support for dentists saving for their retirement. This means reviewing and increasing annual and lifetime allowance limits to incentivise rather than punish pension saving.

“Beyond the budget, dentists need to be aware that the coming weeks will bring a new tax year and already planned changes to tax and allowances with it. Dentists should be reviewing their financial plans with these in mind, and urgently looking at how they can make the most of this year’s tax-free ISA savings allowance before it expires in April.”

Wesleyan Foundation donates £100k to Aston University to develop doctors and dentists of the future

A £100,000 donation from Wesleyan, the financial services mutual, is helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in medicine and healthcare. Over 100 students from the West Midlands will benefit, creating a pipeline of future medical professionals from wider backgrounds and helping to fill the ongoing shortage of doctors and dentists, particularly acute in deprived areas including parts of Birmingham.

The Wesleyan Pathway to Medicine and Pathway to Healthcare programmes, run by Aston University, aim to level the playing field for younger students from non-traditional backgrounds to get the skills they need to successfully study healthcare disciplines at university. The programmes overcome some of the barriers these students have traditionally encountered by offering a variety of healthcare subject taster sessions and work experience preparation workshops, as well as guidance on how to make a successful university application and support to achieve the right academic qualifications.

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “The shortage of medical practitioners across the UK is a huge problem and we’re proud to be extending our partnership with Aston University to support future healthcare professionals by providing support not readily available to them.

“The medical profession attracts few students from the lowest economic groups so this project will bring new talent to the sector and help create a more diverse pipeline of candidates. This benefits not only the students but also our communities as we develop the next generation of healthcare workers.

“As a business that’s been in Birmingham for over 180 years and a mutual, we’re pleased to have this opportunity to invest in future talent, the region and the professions we serve. We wish everyone participating in the programme the best of luck in their careers and look forward to following their progress.”

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, at Aston University said: “Our Pathways programmes are an amazing asset, extending learning opportunities to students aged 16-18 across the West Midlands region and providing them with the skills and confidence to apply to university courses. This generous donation from the Wesleyan Foundation will make a profound difference in the lives of pupils across the region and will provide significant support to those entering the healthcare sector. Thank you, Wesleyan Foundation, for your generous support.”

The programmes run for 18 months and are aimed at students aged between 16-18 years from more than 36 schools across the West Midlands. Results showed that 73% of students on previous programmes went on to study medicine and healthcare.

In 2017, Wesleyan launched the Wesleyan Foundation as part of its commitment to supporting great causes that are important to their members and the communities in which they live and work. The Foundation has since donated £4.3m and has supported over 100,000 people across 500 different groups.

October Emergency Statement: What does it mean for dentists?

This emergency statement came out of the blue on Monday morning as the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt sought to reassure financial markets after the panic prompted by his predecessor’s mini-budget.

He moved to lay out more details of the Government’s new economic strategy in an effort to boost its credibility and provide some stability.

This came days after a policy U-turn on Corporation Tax, which will now increase from 19% to 25% in April next year after all.

This was first announced in 2021, but Kwasi Kwarteng reversed the plan in September, before being overruled by the PM last week.

Today the new Chancellor announced he would cancel the planned cut to the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p, which was due to happen in April 2023.

And he overturned the repeal IR35 off-payroll working rules announced by Kwasi Kwarteng.

These rules are designed to make sure dental associates pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as employees.

Today’s announcement means the responsibility for determining their employment status stays with the contractor, and the associated administrative burden.

There were changes to the Energy Price Guarantee too, which limits the price that suppliers can charge.

It means an average annual household bill will not rise above £2,500 and was initially put in place for two years, with a six-month package for businesses and public sector organisations, including dental practices, that would halve bills.

Both measures will now be scaled back from April next year, though targeted support for the most vulnerable households and businesses will continue.

One of the only policies to have survived from the mini-budget is the cancelation of a planned 1.25% rise in National Insurance from 12% to 13.25%, which was to happen in November.  

The cuts to Stamp Duty announced in September also survived; from November no stamp duty will be paid on the first £250,000 of a property, up from £125,000, and for first-time buyers the threshold will rise from £300,000 to £425,00.

That was a move to get the housing market moving, though the Bank of England is widely expected to hike interest rates again on November 3, which will push up borrowing costs and, combined with the cost-of-living crisis, is likely to hit demand for homes.

Ominously, the Chancellor signed off from his emergency statement by promising ‘more difficult decisions on tax and spending’ and warned ‘some areas of spending will need to be cut’.

Linda Wallace, Director of Wesleyan Financial Services, said in response: “Today’s emergency statement represents a bonfire of the controversial economic policies announced just weeks ago. The reversal of the planned Corporation Tax cut snatches away a 6% saving on business profits, which would have helped to mitigate against rising operational costs. At a time when we can confidently predict more interest rate increases piling further pressure on households and inflation at a record high, it’s going to be a tough winter for many.

“We know that people are accessing savings and pensions to cover expenses, which can have a significant impact on future retirement plans. That’s storing up problems for the future, so I’d urge anyone struggling to get financial advice.”

You can book a no-obligation financial review by visiting www.wesleyan.co.uk/dental or calling 0800 316 3784.

Female dentists’ long-term financial plans at risk according to new report

Research from Wesleyan Financial Services has identified a key area of concern that may leave female dentists at a financial disadvantage compared to their male colleagues…

Nearly half of female dentists (47%) said saving enough for retirement is one of their key financial priorities over the next twelve months. But survey findings revealed that there is a gap in financial planning when it comes to short-term changes to how dentists work and the resulting impact on long-term financial plans.

For female dentists who plan to make changes to how they work within the next two years (such as changing working hours or moving from NHS to private provision), 30% have no financial plans to offset these changes and a further 30% don’t know how these changes will impact their pension.

Comparing this approach to the point of view of male dentists, 41% are confident they have planned for the short- and long-term impacts and 51% know exactly how their pensions will be affected. This leaves a large gap in the approach to long-term planning that may derail female dentists’ plans for retirement.

Linda Wallace, Director of Wesleyan Financial Services, said: “It’s a significant concern from the perspective of financial planning specialists to see such a crucial element of female dentists’ long-term financial plans exposed.

“Understandably, the demands of working within dentistry are intense and reports of burnout, stress and mental health problems are not uncommon in the dental press. These more immediate challenges often take precedent, but raising awareness on long-term financial planning issues will help ensure women in dentistry aren’t left at a comparative disadvantage when it comes to life after work.

“The decisions dentists make now to how they work are intrinsically linked with financial stability in later life. Retirement plans need to be reviewed regularly to protect future goals and allow dentists to enjoy the fruits of their labour with a much-earned retirement.”

Growing day-to-day savings was also found to be a short-term financial priority for 37% of female dentists, which jumped to 58% for those aged 18-30 years. One particular driver for this priority appears to be the ongoing market volatility due to the cost-of-living crisis and the lingering impacts of the pandemic.

One survey respondent shared: “Currently I’m only breaking even and need to find the money to pay my tax bill. So, I can’t save at all.”

Wesleyan’s previous research revealed that it was more likely for Brits to save in standard savings accounts rather than considering alternative approaches, such as investing.

With inflation levels now reaching the highest levels in 40 years as reported for April, one area for female dentists to consider is the negative impact using easy access savings accounts may have on the purchasing power of their savings. To protect their hard-earned money from inflation, considering investing may help savings outperform inflation and result in better returns.

Of course, investments can go down as well as up and it’s possible to get back less than invested. Dentists need to consider their risk appetite and weigh up the threat of inflation and the risks of investing. Speaking to a financial expert may provide clarity on this financial planning area.

To download the full report looking at the key financial concerns for female dentists, visit www.wesleyan.co.uk/campaigns/female-dentists-report and to book a financial review with a specialist dental financial adviser, call 0800 316 6553.

Wesleyan data reveals a fifth of dentists plan on increasing or converting to private work

Wesleyan data reveals a fifth of dentists plan on increasing or converting to private work, as sector grapples with stress, burnout and contractual pressures.

A fifth (21%) of dentists plan on increasing the amount of private work they do, or converting work they do from NHS to private, in the next two years – with the youngest professionals most likely to be increasing or pivoting their practice.

Iain Stevenson, head of dental at Wesleyan, the financial services mutual for dentists, said: “Data suggests that on top of the resignations we’ve already seen, even more dentists will be leaving the profession, or opting to do more private work, in the coming years.

“This will impact further on those seeking treatment. But this isn’t a black and white issue. Many dentists are being driven to change their work by what has been a challenging two years for the profession. The pandemic has exacerbated issues including stress and burnout, while dentists in England have had to grapple with what many have seen as unachievable NHS activity targets and a dental contract that’s no longer fit for purpose.

“Put simply, what we need now is reform and further help from Government to make the NHS model more effective. This will make NHS dentistry a more viable option for professionals and ensure that patients can access the affordable and critical care that they need.”

Wesleyan Financial Services appoints new head of dental

Wesleyan Financial Services has appointed Iain Stevenson as head of the dental segment.

With dedicated specialist financial advisers who exclusively support dentists, the segment has gone from strength to strength. Wesleyan Financial Services is therefore pleased to invest further in this area to enable the team to be united in delivering the strategy to support dentists and their dependents in achieving brighter financial futures.

Iain has been working in financial services for over 25 years, including roles as a senior financial consultant and a senior area manager. Most recently, Iain has been a senior area manager for Scotland and the Northeast of England for Wesleyan Financial Services, managing a team of specialist financial advisers to the dental profession.

Linda Wallace, Director at Wesleyan Financial Services, congratulates Iain, saying: “We are thrilled to have appointed Iain into this newly created role. Iain brings with him a vast knowledge and experience in providing specialist financial advice for dentists across the UK. His skill will be invaluable as we continue to progress our financial advice for dentists in need of support during what has been a very turbulent period within the profession.

“The dental segment will continue to be a key area of focus for Wesleyan Financial Services moving forward and we will continue to develop our team of specialist financial advisers and increase brand awareness within the profession, so that dentists can have access to tailored financial advice, overcome financial barriers and secure better financial futures.”

Not only is Iain passionate about his work, he is also a keen outdoorsman and sports enthusiast.

Commenting on his appointment, Iain said: “I feel tremendously honoured and privileged to be leading the dental segment with Wesleyan Financial Services. Having been working with Wesleyan for almost 19 years, the majority of which has been working with, coaching and developing specialist dental financial advisers, I am acutely aware of the significant value and contribution they make to their dental clients, families and practices every single day.

We are passionate about ensuring we are at the cutting edge of both financial planning and the world of dentistry to ensure we genuinely add value at every interaction.

Finally, financial planning and dentistry is all about people. There are so many talented people within the Wesleyan Group who are all driven to be the best and provide the best possible service to dentists and their families. Dentists need a “challenging friend” when it comes to their financial planning, but it needs to be someone they can trust, believe in and work with.

The world is changing, the world of dentistry is changing, and I am excited to be part of the team helping to guide our clients through those changes. Good financial planning is important, and I am determined to ensure we make ourselves available to every dentist in the UK.”

If you’re looking for help with your financial planning, you can speak to a specialist Wesleyan Financial Services Adviser as part of a no-obligation financial review by visiting www.wesleyan.co.uk/dental or calling 0800 316 3784.

What the new 130% ‘super deduction’ could mean for dentists

The government has stated that from 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2023, companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will be able to claim:

  • a 130% super-deduction capital allowance on qualifying plant and machinery investments
  • a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets

The super-deduction will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest, ensuring the UK capital allowances regime is amongst the world’s most competitive.

The government has offered unprecedented support for businesses during Covid. Even so, pandemic-related economic shocks and the accompanying uncertainty have chilled business investment. This super-deduction will encourage firms to invest in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery assets that will help them grow, and to make those investments now.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/super-deduction

Michael Copeland, at Wesleyan Group, the specialist financial services mutual, commented on how this can affect dental practices: “The new 130% ‘super deduction’ is great news for dentists wanting to make further investments in their business – be that upgrading airflow equipment to maximise surgery capacity, or investing in new chairs and other surgery equipment. Ultimately, it will slash their tax bill as they invest – supporting growth across their business.”

Wesleyan pledges £1 million to help critical workers, including dentists

Wesleyan, the specialist financial services mutual for doctors, dentists and teachers, has announced a £1m ‘mutual support package’ to help front-line critical workers as well as providing a welcome boost to schools, charities and community groups in need of equipment and funding amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

The support package will include:

  • £1m of donations through the Wesleyan Foundation, including an initial £50,000 to tackle digital poverty within schools.
  • £50,000 additional support towards the mental health challenges being faced by critical workers
  • Continuation of the 24/7 well-being support hub launched last May.

Wesleyan has pledged £1m to the Wesleyan Foundation which will be shared across charities and community groups throughout 2021. Recipients will include £50,000 to the Titan Partnership, a Birmingham based education charity campaigning to end tech poverty by ensuring that every child has access to online technology during the pandemic. This will be Wesleyan’s second donation to this cause in the last 12 months.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Wesleyan has also donated over £100,000 to charities that offer mental health support to doctors and dentists, many of whom are struggling with its impacts. Figures show that 58% of doctors are currently suffering with symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety[i].

Dr Pali Hungin former President of the British Medical Association commented: “The support offered by Wesleyan could provide a valuable life-line for some colleagues to help them process what they are going through properly.”

“Latest figures show that one in five healthcare workers will leave their positions after the pandemic due to their mental health. Continued support for our doctors and nurses on the front line is vital as the impact of dealing with Covid-19 for such a long period of time is having a devastating effect on their mental health.”

The Wesleyan Wellbeing hub, an online platform which offers free 24/7 health and wellbeing support, will also remain in place throughout 2021 for members and customers who need additional support.

Mario Mazzocchi, Wesleyan Group Chief Executive said: “Many of our customers are on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic dealing with immense pressures and challenges every day. They are our Covid-heroes and Wesleyan will continue to look for more ways to support them at this crucial time.

“In addition to the financial advice we offer, our mutuality means we can invest in helping the professions we serve in other ways and as we enter our 180th year, it has never been more important to do so. We have listened to our customers and this package of support is intended to focus on areas in urgent need of help such as the mental health of our doctors and digital poverty within schools. We hope that the support we can offer will help to ease some of the pressures brought on by Covid-19.” 

Titan Partnership CEO, Carolyn Chapman-Lees, said:  “The coronavirus crisis is highlighting the invisible barrier to learning caused by digital poverty which is leaving many children behind.

“Wesleyan’s support came at a pivotal time as teachers and pupils were adapting to new ways of working. This has made a big difference to many children. I am delighted that, with Wesleyan’s ongoing support, we will continue to provide devices for children and families most in need.”

Through its Foundation, Wesleyan continues to support charitable organisations providing support to doctors, dentists and teachers including NHS Practitioner Health, Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, Dental Health Support Programme

Charities and community groups in need of funding can apply to the Wesleyan Foundation for a grant to support their work.

For more information about the Wesleyan Foundation and to apply for funding visit https://www.wesleyanfoundation.co.uk/

For more information about the Wesleyan Wellbeing Hub please visit