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a blog by Chris Barrow

My friend, the dentist

John (name changed) is a dentist.

He owns a private dental practice in an affluent English market town.

After 25+ years in dentistry he has already made enough money to be comfortable for the rest of his life. He doesn't need to work, with or without a pandemic.

He could have sold to a corporate many times over but he enjoys being a clinician, an owner and a leader.

His practice works on a Fee Per Item basis and there is no dental plan. They deliver a complete range of treatments from preventative maintenance to high-end implants.

He has furloughed all of his team except his Practice Manager, who is keeping the general admin going and his Finance Manager, who is generating endless "what if" cash flows.

His hygienists intend to claim some help under the Government's support scheme for the self-employed.

His associates were over the £50,000 profit threshold and so they have no current source of income other than savings, spouse's/partner's income (if applicable) and Universal Credit.

John is personally supporting his associates with interest-free loans.

John purchased full PPE right at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, including FFP3.

He is seeing patients from the local post code as there is no UDC within any reasonable distance of his town and no other independent dentist able or willing to do what he is doing.

He is 100% compliant with all the SOPs outlined by NHSE, including triaging and the correct gear.

He is seeing his patients alone as he doesn't want to place any of his nurses at risk. He did ask his associates if any of them would assist him in the surgery or see patients themselves but they declined.

He is charging his patients whatever the pre-Covid FPI price list is for the procedure, plus £25 to cover the cost of the PPE.

Yesterday he grossed £900.

He has calculated that, by the end of 2020, his personal loss as a result of the Covid-19 crisis could be in excess of £350,000. That will come out of savings and investments.

John is a proper old-school private dentist - the type that looks after patients, then team, then suppliers, then family - and then eats last.

John doesn't need a round of applause.

He just needs to know in himself that he is doing the right thing right.

John is a dentist - and I'm very proud to call him my friend.

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