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a blog by Chris Barrow

Its GDP-UK again

It seems sadly inevitable that individuals choose uninformed, speculative and often disrespectful debate on GDP-UK for clarification on questions that can be resolved by a simple request for information.

Although I am not a forum member (and never have been), there are many of my friends who are ready and willing inform me when disparaging comments are made.

My blog post from 8th August 2008 is still there and public for anyone to read the full account of my then decision to join IDH as a part-time Director.

Markets and economies change – never more so than since the summer of 2008 – and successful businesses respond to those changes.

It was authentically reported that I joined IDH to help them acquire private practices – and readers of my blog and ezine will know that I documented the change in strategy that was necessary after the international banking crisis.

It was simply no longer prudent for IDH to acquire private GDP practices on the terms originally proposed and so the CEO asked me to change my direction in January 2009 and work with the existing portfolio of IDH private and specialist practices to build brand, marketing systems and the patient journey.

As usual, I was transparent in documenting this change of emphasis in the articles I write for my own audience and for the various publications that ask me to contribute.

At that time I quietly began to accept freelance coaching assignments again.

IDH – mission accomplished and we have seen the successful development of a portfolio of private and specialist practices that, in their own right, are the fourth largest corporate in the UK.

As I have stated before, it has been and continues to be an absolute pleasure to work with the CEO, the Board, the management team and the many local heroes that populate the company. I have been one of the few able to express accurate opinions about the company from a position of informed privilege.

The arrival of Richard Smith from Lloyds Pharmacy as new CEO on 1st July 2010 will herald a significant era in the evolution of IDH and I look forward to strengthening our newly formed relationship.

I firmly believe in an “abundance” mentality and that there is equally positive opportunity for all of the players in the new world of UK dentistry – retailers, corporates, mini-corporates and independents, NHS and private, can carve their niche in the marketplace and prosper – there is plenty of business to go around.

Thos who live in “scarcity” will complain about competition and use fear to drive their agendas forward.

Earlier this year, I requested “more time” from IDH to develop my freelance business, recognising the opportunity that exists to support the independent practice (both NHS and private).

This request was granted and from 1st May I have been directing my efforts at

  1. Work with IDH to help the company with UK dental recruitment, national marketing and the creation of an IDH Academy to improve and evolve clinical training systems

  2. Coaching a small group of Elite practices across the UK

  3. The re-brand of my freelance business as The Dental Business Club, providing training, consultancy and coaching to NHS and private independents

  4. Looking at selected “non-executive” positions with businesses that I see as key players in the emerging market (of which you will read more in the weeks ahead)

  5. The creation of a bespoke customer service training programme for Coventry PCT, in response to a request that originated from them in the latter part of 2009

The PCT programme that seems to have originated the GDP-UK thread has been in planning since November 2009 and is intended to create customer service brand standards for the 35 practices who are participating.

The request to me for assistance came from the PCT themselves after detailed independent management consultancy on how best they could support their providers.

The project has been over 6 months in discussion and preparation at the highest level.

I have already attended preliminary meetings with most of the principals involved, including other corporates who are attending – and the positive response to this initiative has been overwhelming.

Carol Reece and the team at the PCT are pioneering a positive approach in their relationship with member practices and the work I do will be one of many initiatives that will, I believe, show the PCT to be leaders.

Should any individual dentist require further clarification on my role or the scope of the project, please email me directly at

As I write this on Monday evening, I’m reading on-line of the recently published email “spat” between Steve Jobs and one of his critics.

“Rare is the CEO who will spar one-on-one with customers and bloggers like this,” writes a BBC commentator. “Jobs deserves big credit for breaking the mold of the typical American executive, and not just because his company makes such hugely superior products: Jobs not only built and then rebuilt his company around some very strong opinions about digital life, but he’s willing to defend them in public. Vigorously. Bluntly. At two in the morning on a weekend.”

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