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a blog by Chris Barrow

Winter came – and what I hope to be talking about this evening

Newcastle this morning and temperatures of -5 and a few inches of snow as the city slowly wakes.

This evening I’m booked to meet with The Campbell Academy Peer Review to facilitate a conversation around the subject of “Winter is Coming” (a SWOT analysis of UK dentistry) – little did I know how prophetic the title would be!

It remains to be seen whether the gig will actually go ahead (my phone is on) and/or whether anybody chooses an evening with me in favour of sledging with the kids or an evening at home by the fireside – such is life on the road and we must “take the current when it serves or lose our ventures”.

Unless otherwise advised, I’ll be harnessing the huskies and setting off down the A1 shortly.

Is a metaphoric winter coming in UK dentistry to match our arctic week?

It would be easy to think so:

  1. the alleged struggles of some NHS corporates;

  2. the chaos that is the NHS ortho tender process;

  3. the exodus of continental European dentists and technicians;

  4. the departure of recently qualified dentists to seek their future in other professions;

  5. the rise of litigation and aggressive regulation;

  6. the exodus from ownership of the older generations;

  7. the growing disinterest in ownership expressed by many younger dentists;

  8. the proposed new NHS system for Scotland;

  9. the lack of innovation across the UK dental community

  10. the new GDPR data protection rules

  11. the political and economic disaster that is Brexit

  12. the choice between May and Corbyn

and so on, and so on.

We British love to grumble and in 22 years I’ve never been to a dental meeting where there wasn’t a version of this list propelling a doom and gloom conversation – do you remember when HTM 01-05 was going to kill us all; the effective leadership of Gordon Brown; the CQC?

If I do manage an audience this evening, I’ll be getting the doom list out of the way in the first 15 minutes; then I’ll be moving on to talk about reasons to be cheerful – there are plenty.

I’ll be sharing with them my updated list of “USPs in independent dentistry” – the “best practice” habits that I’m seeing across my client base. Habits that are producing record months for new patient acquisitions, increases in net profitability and happier teams.

As for tonight – “first lesson, stick them with the pointy end.”

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