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a blog by Chris Barrow

Monday, bloody Monday

Back to work for five more days, I've had enough
This is more than just a phase, it's getting hard
I understand, it isn't funny

Do what I can, I need the money

It's 5 weeks today since Boris changed his tune from "Happy Birthday" to "stay indoors".

I'll leave it to the scientists, economists and journalists to argue whether the UK's response to Covid-19 was timely and appropriate and seek, stoically, to deal with the reality of what we have to do today.

Monday - week #6 of lockdown.

The CDO's webinar on Friday produced no new information whatsoever, simply a reassurance that answers would emerge in time and that everyone at NHSE was working just as hard as everyone else. 45-minutes of my life that I'll never see again.

Co-incidentally, just 15 minutes after Sara Hurley's lip wobbled at the thought of the extreme efforts her team were making, I chaired a Zoom meeting of the 75+ clients I'm working with in The Extreme Business Regeneration Programme.

On our Facebook Workplace we are sharing as much information as possible about what is going on externally in the world at large and in UK dentistry - and internally, sharing patient newsletters, team newsletters, referring dentist newsletters, social media posts, team training exercises, vCPD tutorials and team fun.

On Friday I also asked one of our clients, Guy Deeming from Queensway Orthodontics, to share how his business has responded to lockdown and how he is using both Dental Monitoring and Smile Mate to continue advising on over 400 Invisalign cases and conduct video consultations with prospective new patients.

Later this week, I'll be publishing a further interview we recorded last week with Guy as he joined Ashley and myself for a Two Reds podcast. Let me tell you now that it's a masterclass on Covid-19 response in dentistry - not to be missed.

In the meantime, a cursory glance at the national news reveals continued reminders from The Government that the "return to school/work" will not be a switch that we flick from "off" to "on" - rather a phased return that will involve continued social distancing, restricted travel, segregated classrooms and selected businesses FOR MONTHS AHEAD.

We simply don't know (just like NHSE) what this will look like in detail for dentistry and social media channels are full of such speculation.

Perhaps, therefore, interesting to note that tomorrow (Tuesday) your Australian colleagues move from their "level 3" to "level 2" restrictions, worth detailing here:

"Provision of dental treatments that are unlikely to generate aerosols or where aerosols generated have the presence of minimal saliva/blood due to the use of rubber dam. This includes:

  • Examinations

  • Simple non-invasive fillings without use of high-speed handpieces

  • Restorative procedures using high-speed handpieces only provided with the use of rubber dam

  • Non-surgical extractions

  • Hand scaling (no use of ultrasonic scalers)

  • Medical management of soft tissue presentations (such as ulcers)

  • Temporomandibular dysfunction management

  • Denture procedures

  • Preventative procedures such as the application of topical remineralising agents e.g. fluoride

  • Orthodontic treatment

Specifically, "elective implant dental treatment should be delayed".

This may be a clue as to what a first phase of a UK return to work could look like - we shall see.

One thing is for sure - getting your currently grounded business back in to the air isn't going to be a vertical take-off. Rather a slow ascent to a low cruising altitude, then circling slowly whilst waiting for permission to climb higher at some undetermined point in the future.

So let me make one thing absolutely clear.

Your 2020 business plan - the one you imagined back at the start of the year?

That's gone.

What we all need to do (I'm having a big meeting with Team CB on Thursday) is re-engineer our business plans based on the reality we all face.

We need to think very carefully indeed about how to turn your ideas into a working reality.

  • What now? What is the clinical reality?

  • How does this fit with my core values? Does what I CAN do fit with what I WANT to do?

  • Who are my customers? What will appeal to patients and referring GDPs and how will I communicate with them? What problems do I need to solve for them? Have I spoken to them?

  • How will I beat the competition? There will be a lot of very hungry dental practices out there. How will I compete?

  • How will I look after my team? A phased return to work may well mean a phased return to a full team. How does that work in a way that is fair to me, the business and the team?

  • How will we make some money? What has to happen for the business to be profitable during the recovery phase?

Perhaps most important of all - "Do I really care?"

I sense some fatigue amongst owners.

Here's the most important thing I want to say to you today, as we start another week:

If you can't get excited about this - how do you expect your team or your patients to get excited?

It's Monday. Week #6.

Show up.

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