THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

UK Dentistry is an exciting place right now

Well I think it is anyway. The news that Merrill Lynch have purchased 51% of Integrated Dental Holdings for £300 million may have raised the eyebrows of many in dentistry – but a bigger impact will be the effect on the City. Although the pundits are predicting recession, your pension fund managers are awash with cash and under pressure to perform – so they are always looking for growth sectors in the economy. You can take it from me that the IDH news has already caused frantic phone calls around the Square Mile from investment managers asking each other “why the heck aren’t we in dentistry then?” – and that will be quickly followed by the high street banks asking their commercial managers “why aren’t you lending to dentists then?” Expect a proliferation of new players in the funding market – institutions and private equity looking to take part in the phenomenal expansion of dentistry UK. I’m happy to leave Integrated to battle it out with Oasis and others for NHS market share. To compete on cut-price UDA’s with faceless PCT managers. I’m even happy for Virgin to invest millions in advertising the benefits of private dental care later this year. Competition and visibility create demand. I will continue to champion the cause of the small independent – looking to all of this “hype” as opportunity – to provide concierge class dentistry and customer service to the discerning client. And if somebody comes along with a few million to invest into private dentistry – I’m ready to dance. The cats can sleep if they like – I’m wide awake.

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