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a blog by Chris Barrow

Keep calm - and get ready to open

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

In The Daily Mail online (updated online at 15 minutes past midnight last night) a.k.a. "the voice of the Chief Dental Officer for England" we are informed by Ms. Hurley that "the industry must prepare for a 'new era for dental care'. "

So much for NHS dentistry - I did suggest yesterday that the UDA may well have become a victim of Covid-19.

In the meantime, Thursday was quite a day:

  • Morning - a letter from the CDO (back-dated?) from 19th May to ask practices to prepare;

  • Afternoon - a letter from the CDO (knee-jerk?) to say "get back to work on 8th June"

With, of course, the caveat that your IPC and PPE are in place and that you are following a decent set of SOPs but, frankly, not concerned with who's (you can use ours for the time being) - that's now your problem.

In fact, pretty much everything now is your problem.

You wanted to be free from bureaucratic control didn't you?

Well, as usual, you had to be careful what you wished for:

  • Which SOPs - your problem;

  • Which PPE - your problem;

  • PPE supply chain - your problem;

  • Dealing with the tidal wave of patients who started messaging you last night to say "I've just seen on the news that you are open on 8th, can I book myself in for the Monday morning please?" - your problem;

  • Settling the team down, many of whom will now be panicking about child-care, holiday entitlement, safety at work, flexible hours, donning and doffing, learning the new job in 5 working days - your problem;

  • Settling the clinicians down - hygienists/therapists and dentists who don't know what to expect next - your problem;

  • Financial forecasting to see how to make all of this profitable - your problem;

  • Wondering whether the CDOs in the other nations are going to change direction and follow suit - not your problem as such but you are now in a limbo and will no doubt be answering questions from patients and team.

Today, I'll be changing my workflow around for the next few days:

  • working for my clients on templates for patient and team communication - emails, newsletters, telephone scripts and whatever else will be required;

  • advising my Principals on how best to communicate;

  • analysing too many "what if's" to try and come up with workable plans;

  • liaising with our buying group suppliers to confirm that the delivery dates promised can be met and calming down the panicky clients;

  • accelerating forward the "return to work" version of my Regeneration coaching programme and making appropriate adjustments to WHAT I deliver as a business coach and HOW I deliver it.

My biggest observation this morning is that, as leaders, we must calm people down - patients, managers, team, clinicians, referring GDPs, suppliers, lenders, community, family and self.

8th June isn't a boat that you might miss.

8th June isn't a cave in the mountains into which the Pied Piper is leading the village children - just because you aren't ready that day, you are not the limping boy, left behind.

If you don't see patients on 8th June, your world isn't going to come to an end.

15th June

22nd June

It will be OK - as long as you communicate well.

(p.s. it might even be better financially to wait a while).

Keep calm and get ready to open.


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