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a blog by Chris Barrow

In London

So three months ago this dentist walks up to me after a presentation at an evening meeting and says;

“I need help -but I don’t want to attend your “basic” programme – I think I’m going to need some special coaching?”

And I ask for more information – and he tells me a story about a 15-year old London practice that is stagnating – and I agree to visit with him for the day and help out – at a price, of course – but he is happy to make the investment in his future. So here I am on a Wednesday morning, looking out of my hotel room at the City (I’m on the south bank and in the truly marvellous Hilton Tower Bridge) and preparing to jump in a cab and head a few miles west of here. There is no doubt that these practice visits are possibly my lowest earning days, in spite of the ticket price – but I have to say that they are a joy to attend – getting deep down and dirty into the client’s business and plans. Here we go then…. A full day in practice and then a working dinner this evening with my good friend James Goolnik from the ever excellent Bow Lane Dental Group (great web site by the way). Oh – and by the way – checking in to the hotel last night I am surprised by a tap on the shoulder by my friend Dr. Asif Syed – the amazing guy who presents our advanced financial planning intensive and helps top dentists to monitor KPI’s with a funky bit of software (he’ll kill me for describing it that way). We enjoy a late drink and chat with a pal of his who is so far up the ladder at a local PCT that he will probably get a knighthood – I’d have to kill you if I told you his name. Fascinating chat about IDH and Oasis apparently competing for NHS market share and all the talk in the dental press about the corporates trying to buy that market share and put the smaller NHS practitioner out of the market. Chinese labs, immigrant associates, £9.00 UDA’s and all that jazz. He (in charge of a £500m budget) regards all that as total bollocks and points out eloquently that:

  1. each PCT is statutorily automonous and they cannot be nationally “bought”

  2. they are guided by politically correct principals and not economics – and the pc PCT will tender to independents to maintain the nature of the profession and

  3. the City boys who are ploughing money into NHS dentistry and trying to compete on cost are misinformed and

  4. the right place to be is ploughing money into implants

  5. not bloody botox and fillers

  6. not tooth whitening, colonic irrigation and spray-on tans

  7. into implants – a £1.5bn UK market that is exploding

So there you are – be told – from a very influential and reputable source. Stop worrying about the NHS, stop trying to become a beauty spa (he said – not me) and focus on what you were trained to do – at the very highest level. Now go finish your cornflakes…

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