After co-founding 76 Harley Street in 2007, Farid Monibi is now at the helm of one of the UK’s top specialist-led practices. 

Farid talks about his journey to the UK from war-torn Iran in 1980 via Majorca, California, and Germany to build 76 Harley Street from the ground up.

He also recalls early mentors, chats about his twin loves, carpentry and high-adrenaline sports, and his approach to growing and managing one of the country’s foremost clinics.       

In This Episode

02.23 – Learning goals

06.15 – Max-facs and early mentors

12.57 – Opening 76 Harley Street

18.03 – Entering dentistry

24.00 – Leaving Iran

27.46 – Germany Vs the UK

31.17 – Guy’s and specialising

35.45 – Building 76 Harley Street

46.05 – Management and marketing

54.02 – The 76 team

56.18 – Adrenaline

59.17 – Blackbox thinking

01.10.19 – Customer journey

01.20.08 – Last day and legacy

01.22.47 – Fantasy dinner party


About Farid Monibi 

Specialist prosthodontist Farid qualified from Guy’s Hospital in 1997, where he went on to complete postgraduate training in prosthodontics.  

He co-founded 76 Harley Street dental practice in 2007, which has since become one of the UK’s top specialist-led clinics. 

[00:00:00] You know, you’re not good because you’ve got an excellent pair of hands. Of course it helps. Or I think you become experienced or good at avoiding problems by being able to look ahead. So before before you do something. You can see all the things that could go wrong. And therefore, you can you can avoid them. And that’s you learn the hard way.

[00:00:28] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:45] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Farid TB onto the podcast. Farid, an old friend of mine, so he’s probably such an old friend. I can’t even remember the first time I came across you, but you certainly studied at the same time as my brother did, and guys that remember you from then, the kind of dentist that you know around expert at the sort of implant restorative end of things. Dentists send my family members to and have done that several times and failed to come through for them. High ethics, high skills. But on the other hand, not someone who courts attention very much. Principal of the extraordinary 76 highly st multidisciplinary specialist centre in the West End and Boston House Dental Clinic in the city, which I’ve also had the privilege of seeing another beautiful place. Good to have you, Farid.

[00:01:43] Thank you very much for the very kind introduction. I actually remember I don’t remember the first time I met you, but I am very, very fond of your brother. And he was a very good friend of my wife’s and they studied together and he was kind of watching out for her because he was a year or two above her. So, yeah, I’ve got a lovely family and we’re very fond of you guys.

[00:02:10] Excellent. And interestingly, our parents are neighbours now as well. Another have been neighbours for years.

[00:02:17] That’s another connection. They probably see each other more than we see one another.

[00:02:21] Yeah.

[00:02:23] So this this this show kind of is kind of like a life and life and Haim’s kind of show. Yeah, but. But I’m getting sick of starting it always with the same question of where did you grow up and all that? We’ll get to that, by the way. But I want to kind of get to the crux of as and as an expert in that implant restorative. I mean, much of dentistry is in it. Most of dentistry is there. What would you say are the are the key sort of learning goals for someone who wants to get into that field and become an expert in that field? What’s the what’s the roadmap to become that person?

[00:02:59] I can. I can. I’m sure there are many, many ways you can become good at a particular set of skills. For me, it was probably a lot of experience in every other field, apart from the field I ended up going into. So and that was one of the things that my tutors at college recommended I should do. So when I was doing dentistry, they said, Go and do everything, and then you’ll find out what you like and do more of the other stuff that you’re not going to be doing long term, just so that you understand it and you can communicate to people. So to do this backwards. My initial aim was to do maxillofacial surgery. I did dentistry at guys. I had the pleasure of meeting Professor McGurk when I became a house officer there and I was really, really fond of him and he was probably my first mentor. He looked after me and he recommended I came and did maxillofacial surgery at guys and did do the three year short and medical course and do max effects. And I was really keen and sort of raring to go and my wife had other ideas about my future. She said, You’re not going to go and do something and become a consultant in 15 years time. Do something that makes you more available without on calls and that sort of stuff. So I wanted to learn more about all surgery at that point. So I went and did a bunch of house jobs, senior house jobs that were slow coming left, right and centre. And I’d done some work in Ortho at Guy’s as a house job. I’ve done some work in the paediatric dental department, so I sort of did the other bits.

[00:04:41] I never had an interest in Perio, so I never was going to do that. But we’d done enough. You start off as an undergrad with Perrier and it covers quite a lot of your undergrad training. And by sort of elimination, I came to restorative dentistry and we had some talented people like Leslie Howe at guys who were inspiring. And that’s one of the things I recommended to my children, that they put themselves in contact with inspiring people, with people who enjoy life, enjoy what they’re doing, and are good at conveying that to other people. And those people will sort of drag you along no matter what life walk of life you’re in. They will drag you along and inspire you and motivate you to do other things. So those were sort of the early influences, to answer your question, how do you become good at something? You do do a lot of it. You know, I. The simple answer to it. I do martial arts. We have a general rule. Unless you’ve done 1000 repetitions of a technique, you don’t really know it. And once you’ve done a thousand repetitions in the technique, you then start to find out all the things you’re doing wrong. There’s a curve. I don’t remember the name of it. Where? Where? When you start doing something, you think you’re really good quite early on. And then the longer you do it, the more you find out how difficult it is. And by the time you’re an expert, you’ll probably end up at about 75% of where you thought you were ten years prior to.

[00:06:15] So how serious were you about Max? Max, I mean, do you still have a little part of you that says, what if?

[00:06:22] Well, no.

[00:06:22] I’ve built it into my practice. So ever since I started doing dentistry and practice, I’ve incorporated not maxillofacial surgery, but I’ve incorporated all surgery into my day to day. So I do my own. I don’t know whether it’s wisdom, teeth, extractions, episiotomy, sinus lifts, bone grafts, block grafts, whatever it is. I really enjoy doing it, which is sometimes quite difficult to explain to patients because they think you’re weird if you enjoy that aspect of dentistry. But I’ve always enjoyed it. Although my first experience of horror surgery was atrocious and I thought I would never, ever do anything again. I think it was my fourth year and I was supposed to take out an upper six and it was on the oral surgery department of Guys on floor 23. First tooth that was ever taken out and I slipped with the complaints and of this sort of centimetre, centimetre and a half laceration on the palate of my patient and started sweating and didn’t know what to do, called Mr. Shepherd, who just looked at it and said, Well, that’ll help. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t even need a stitch. So that’s the chap at the expert end where he can assess something and just look at it and say, I’ll be okay, don’t worry.

[00:07:40] So out of the different aspects of being the sort of the boss of principle of so many people and so in two different big clinics, you know, you’ve got the clinical side and now you’re telling me, okay, even out of the clinical side, you prefer the surgical. So is that what you’re saying? You really enjoy the surgical side more than the rest?

[00:07:59] I don’t shy away from it. I enjoy it. And I’m primarily a dentist. I enjoy the company of people. Yeah, probably why I became a dentist.

[00:08:10] I was going to be my question. That was give me a question because I get the feeling I’ve never been your patient, but I get the feeling your chair side man is going to be really good. Like, do you have long conversations with your patients and get something out of that? Because that’s certainly the thing I miss the most about being a dentist is those long conversations with with people, you know, rather than the teeth.

[00:08:32] It’s a very significant portion of my clinical time. I’ve never rushed to patient. In fact, I’ve been told off many times by reception or by my nurse or who’ve been sort of coming in and out of the room trying to tell me that you’re running late for your next patient. Can you please get on with it? I want to get home. And I’m sometimes sometimes you can politely suggest that maybe there’s some waiting and maybe you should get on. But a lot of the time people have got significant things to share with you, and it feels inappropriate to interrupt them at an extreme. I had a patient who sadly is not with us anymore, and she was actually very influential in sort of in me setting up this practice at 76 Harbour Street. But she used to book two, two and a half hour appointments and sit down and just talk. And then we would run over by an hour and all I had to do was sit there and nod and listen to her. And when she first started doing this, she didn’t really want the nurse to be present, which was awkward. So I asked her to be sort of in the sterilised area next to my room, which there’s no door there. And then with time she started trusting the nurse also. So the nurse was also present and she was sort of pottering about doing things and she was just talk and she ended up unfortunately dying from a pulmonary embolism, which was just not diagnosed. She she’d had it for three weeks and people thought she had a cough.

[00:10:02] So how was she influential in you making the decision to start 76?

[00:10:07] All right. So I was renting rooms in Wimpole Street, 30, Wimpole Street and Rohan. Roger Rogers, who is still working here with us, is one of our dentists, said, look, we’ve got a case here. We need a dentist to assess her and get a treatment plan together and then can you come over? And at that time I was working in quite a few different practises. I was working in Oxford primarily and in Rickmansworth, and I think I was also working still at Whitecross in. Come out. So anyway, I said, Yeah, I’ll make time. And I went and met this woman and she needed quite a lot of work. It was a big implant case with everything dentistry has to offer. It thrown in root canal treatments, crowns, bridges, implants. And it was a really interesting case. We started going there on Saturdays and doing that on Saturdays, and at some point the person who had set this practice up couldn’t run it. He was from out of town and he thought, I don’t want to mention any names, but he thought he could sort of come into London and see what he described as as high value patients, and it just didn’t happen for him. So I started renting these rooms from him and started seeing patients that were referred in. One of the patients that got referred to me was also seen by Rowan, and she’d had a really, really ugly crown put on a central incisor, which was, I mean, the colour was just so off and this was supposedly done by an Australian expert.

[00:11:40] So I said, yes I can, I can certainly do better than that, can’t make any promises. And that was Bernie, this lady who who ended up bringing not only her extended family. I mean, I see her cousins and nephews and sisters, quite a lot of her family. They are absolutely lovely. Absolutely lovely. But what then happened as fast forward by sort of maybe a couple of years and I found 7600 st I started setting this place up and as an open evening we had a gallery and art gallery with a good friend of mine, Sari Sam’s, who’s an artist. She lives in Germany now, so fair use my rooms as an exhibition hall and put put screws into every wall that I have and hung up her artwork. And people came and I had Bernie as one of our guests when everyone left and we were tidying up, Fahri said, By the way, where do you want these? And I said, What do you mean? Well, your patient bought these for you, so she bought five pieces of art or Fahri for the practice as a sort of housewarming gift. So and sort of it developed from that amazing.

[00:12:57] Amazing story with 76 though. What was strange about it for me or different about it for me was how, you know, like the standard way to open a West End practice is kind of, you know, small and one room at a time. But with 76, it was almost intentionally you were coming in as as a sort of multi disciplinarian, sort of. You even had health and wellbeing from the beginning. Am I right about that?

[00:13:25] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:13:27] That that I understand the rationale for wanting a centre like that, but quite a big, big chunk to buy it off. And you know, we all know the rents and things that are huge and doing the work and all that. Did you have moments before you opened and thinking, you know, what have I done here? And after you open, you know, how do you manage to fill a place like that? I mean, you know, with difficulty. I know, but but did you not worry about that?

[00:13:54] You know, parents, you know, they say ignorance is bliss.

[00:13:59] I dwell.

[00:14:00] In bliss. I love bliss. I’m a I just didn’t know any better. I this this property was belonged to the father of a friend of Anna’s brother. And I went to see them. I came here and they were smoky. They’re a petrochemical engineering company. Mr. Malik Shut, who’s unfortunately now passed away. He was a petrochemical engineer, MIT grad, really lovely man. So I sat down with them and I said, Look, this is what I’m planning to do. I have no patient base. I’m starting from scratch. I’ve never had my own practice. I’ve got maybe a dozen patients that I know that that will come and see me. But apart from that, we’re starting something from nothing. I really loved the space we’ve got. You’ve seen it. We’ve got big windows and beautiful. Good, good light. And but at the time when I when when I first saw there were there was yellow wallpaper, sort of dirty beige carpets. Everyone in this building smoked.

[00:15:09] And it was it was it was it that you fell in love with the building and you saw the potential from the building perspective and you thought, to hell with it, let’s do this.

[00:15:18] Exactly right. Exactly right.

[00:15:20] Really, it wasn’t like a plan that you were going to open them up.

[00:15:24] I really felt for the building that I was doing.

[00:15:26] The I’m I’m one thing. I’m I’m an optimist by nature. And like I said to you earlier, yes, man, I tend to go along with things quite, quite. Quickly and easily, and I make decisions very easily live to regret some of them. But on the whole, I’m good at making decisions quickly and most of the time it works out. And this was one of those. Would you.

[00:15:51] Say would you say you trust your instincts, like when you meet someone or something, you know, instinctively, whether it’s right or.

[00:15:59] Wrong, I should say yes to that. But as most people, we also get disappointed sometimes, you know.

[00:16:08] Yeah, yeah.

[00:16:09] But on the whole, yes. Let’s go with my God. God.

[00:16:11] Really? Really? Yes. Yeah.

[00:16:14] On paper, my business would have never worked. There was no scenario. I’ve since sort of learnt about business plans and doing things, so how people do things properly and we’ve got a few other things in the pipeline that we’re doing now and trying to plan things out and budget and da da da. But at the time, no, we you know, I took out a mortgage on the house, spent it on this place. We decked it out. I remember my parents coming in and they saw the wood floor going down and said, Hey, this is a bit extravagant. This is going to be a dental practice. Are you sure you want wood floors? And my my rationale was the price difference between having a wood floor and not a wood floor wasn’t actually that big. And yeah, it just looks so much nicer. And I wanted to separate out clinical and non-clinical areas by having demarcations in the floor. So the clinical area will have clinical flooring, but the rest of the place can look like someone’s front room, you know, can, can look comfortable. And I’ve always liked a minimalist look. I don’t like clutter. I don’t like things being on surfaces that annoys my wife to no end. So that was sort of this is my, my, my Zen place to I actually find my, my weekdays more relaxing than my weekends.

[00:17:41] So so okay. You’re saying there was no scenario where it could have worked, but it worked, right. With tenacity, with what would you say? What would you say? Well, whatever it is, you know, whatever you used the.

[00:17:54] Yeah, that’s it.

[00:17:55] All the skill, all the skill. All the skill. Okay, then give me, give me give me some of the some of the sort of inflection points that could have gone wrong. But for whatever reason, it went right.

[00:18:03] I’m a great believer in in luck in being you’re not both know we weren’t born in this country. We’ve just been born to the right parents who’ve done the right things for us in terms of education, immigration, whatever it might be for us to end up in this wonderful country. And then things have worked out. And in terms of dentistry, my first lucky junction was meeting a lady called Alyson Keele, who was my form tutor. So I schooled in Germany. I finished school in Germany. I was there for 11 years. I got my AP tour and then I came here and wanted to do dentistry because in the UK in 1991, it was the first year they had an integrated system where you could start seeing patients from sort of as a as a student year two. Whereas in Germany you studied non-clinical for five years and then in the last year you had to in the sixties you had to provide your own patients, which just didn’t make any sense to me. So this this sounded much, much better. So I came here with a view to doing dentistry. And in order to learn English, I started doing A-levels. And then the colleges that are applied to said, Well, if you’re doing A-levels, we don’t really know how to assess your German RB tour, so we’ll just take A-levels.

[00:19:29] And then I thought, Hang on, I’m just doing this to learn English. I’m not really doing doing it competitively, if you like to get high grades. But that’s that’s how it ended up. And in today’s world, I would have never gotten into dentistry. But coming back to Alison Keele, she was my form tutor and she wrote a lovely letter of recommendation to Peter Longhurst, I think, or actually to to all of the universities, because I got an unconditional offer from King’s a conditional offer from Guy’s Leeds. I went to the interview and they said, You’ve got an unconditional offer from King’s. Why are you here? And I said, Well, I wanted to see your university. And they said, Well, if you’ve got an unconditional offer from King’s, there’s obviously no point in us giving you an offer. And he was really rude about it. And I sort of thought, I don’t know, I could have, could have, could have gone to Leeds anyway. I ended up with guys and it was lovely.

[00:20:24] When was the first time dentistry came on your radar? I mean, why dentistry?

[00:20:27] I was 16, so my initial aim was to do orthopaedic surgery because well before that, that’s after I thought I would do carp and. I sort of I really love carpentry, and I think that’s my retirement plan. At some point I’m going to do more of that carving and that sort of stuff. But I thought, I like human interaction. I like carpentry. Orthopaedic surgery would would be my thing. And then I went to we had a friend who was an orthopaedic surgeon. I went to watch some of his colleagues work. And I thought, there’s no way I would be ever doing that. It just seemed really rough and brutal. And, you know, this is me prior to me having been exposed to any sort of clinical environment. So to go in and watch a surgeon put a wire through someone’s forearm six times before it actually worked, it was horrific. So I thought, no, I’m not doing that. And I want to actually deal with patients who can talk back.

[00:21:29] So but I mean, why the medical field? I mean, do you have medics in your family? Why why medical? Why why didn’t you.

[00:21:35] Become I’m actually the first dentist within my close family.

[00:21:39] So how did it come about? And why didn’t you go into business?

[00:21:42] Like like. Like my father?

[00:21:44] Yeah, why not?

[00:21:46] It never, never sort of tickled my fancy. Not because I was rebellious, because I wanted to do something more manual and not offer space and more to do more interaction with people. So I could have I could have become a sort of salesperson. I could have I could work in a shop easily, I think, or I could have have a restaurant that would have worked.

[00:22:09] But being the.

[00:22:10] Son of Iranian.

[00:22:12] And what and what a restaurant it would have been.

[00:22:17] But no, my.

[00:22:18] Point is that was was there an element of, you know, I’ve got one of my kids saying, I’ll do anything but dentistry now. Yeah. And okay, maybe he’s in a rebellious phase or whatever. But was there an element of watching your dad and something about what your dad did not appealing to?

[00:22:33] You know, I. I loved what my dad did, and I, I would go and help him whenever I could. I loved being in his office. I love being in his company, a company as a next to him, you know, spending time with him. I used to run errands for him all the time and it was a good time. So during the holidays I’d go into the office and I liked what he did and he was obviously he was quite successful, but it wasn’t for me.

[00:23:06] No, no element of wanting to carry on the family business, you know, something that that whole thing.

[00:23:11] No, no, not really. Not really. I like I said, quite early on, I knew I wanted to do dentistry and I knew I wanted to get married quite early on, both around the age of sort of between 16 and 18, my sights were set.

[00:23:24] What was that about? Why did you want to get married, don’t you?

[00:23:26] I wanted to have kids.

[00:23:28] Early on.

[00:23:30] Then.

[00:23:32] Really? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:23:33] Go on. Tell me, where does that come from?

[00:23:35] I don’t know.

[00:23:36] I got I mean, my my father got married when he was 28, I guess I went to the age gap between myself and.

[00:23:44] My.

[00:23:45] Not to be huge. So I got married when I was 25 and we had money when I was 20, 28 I think.

[00:23:54] And he’s in uni now. Yeah.

[00:23:55] No he’s finished his working.

[00:23:57] It’s.

[00:23:58] My goodness. It’s working.

[00:24:00] My goodness. All right, let’s let’s go back then. So you were brought up mainly in Germany, born in Iran.

[00:24:06] So born in Iran. Moved to Germany when I was 878.

[00:24:11] No. Yeah.

[00:24:13] 1988. So we moved out of Iran three months after the war started.

[00:24:19] What are your memories of that? I mean, I was seven when I moved and I clearly remember Iran. Yeah, very different. It was very different to here. What are your.

[00:24:29] Memories? I’ve been going back fairly regularly until a few years ago, so.

[00:24:34] But what are your memories of the time when we were changing country? Did you did you know you were changing countries? Because we didn’t we were like, oh, we’re just going on holiday, right?

[00:24:43] So the first memory of the war I have was we lived on on the top floor of a three storey building. And I said, Mum, someone’s rolling an oil barrel on the roof. And she said, Don’t be silly, I can hear it too. But that’s not an all that. There are no oil barrels on the roof. So we both went on to the balcony and we had a huge balcony to look up and there was an Iranian jet chasing a MiG over Tehran. And what we thought was the oil barrel was actually machine guns, so we’d never heard it before. So we and it’s not like today where people play cod and all sorts of computer games and they’re very iffy with how things sound. And they can tell the difference between the sound and, I don’t know, a, an AK 47 and something, something different. Whereas in those days it was all new to us.

[00:25:35] So in Beirut, you get very good at. Knowing the difference between a firework and a gun.

[00:25:41] Here on.

[00:25:43] New Year’s Eve. They fire both.

[00:25:46] Of their friends.

[00:25:48] But go on. So then you decided to move?

[00:25:51] Well, I didn’t. As kids, my parents said, okay, we’re going to go on holiday.

[00:25:57] Yeah.

[00:25:58] So that was the plan. We went to Spain and we were going to stay out of the country for a couple of months. The war was going to be over, and then we were going to just go back.

[00:26:08] Yeah, and here we are, 40.

[00:26:12] Well, so when do you remember when you got to. When you got. We went to Spain first. How long were you in Spain before you got to Germany?

[00:26:18] We left Iran on a bus on one of the because they bombed the airport.

[00:26:23] So we left across the border.

[00:26:24] We we drove to Tabriz, where my family are from. So we’re from the north west of Iran. And then one of dad’s family members drove us across. Drove us to Turkey. And then we caught a bus from there to Ankara, then a plane from them to Hamburg, where we had family and then to Mallorca. And Mallorca was lovely. I vividly remember seeing seeing orcas and dolphins for the first time at SeaWorld in Mallorca. So, yeah.

[00:26:58] We hadn’t we in Mallorca.

[00:27:00] I don’t remember. A few weeks.

[00:27:02] A few weeks and then and then Germany.

[00:27:04] Hamburg. Yeah. And then the summer in California where Dad wanted to see if he can start working there, because it was quite apparent that we weren’t going to go back. So we went to camp and then Dad was basically just ferrying us from kindergarten to school to whatever, and he said, I can’t do this. So we moved back to Germany and that’s where we settled.

[00:27:26] So funny. We did the same the same move in to California to see whether we wanted to live there and spend the summer there and decided not to. Often think about what would have happened if we did decide to go to California. So Germany, you know, interesting place. What are your observations about the difference between German and U.K. culture?

[00:27:46] Okay. So I had a really lovely time in Germany and I’ve had very fond times in Hamburg, kind people, Germans on the whole, when you get to know them, there might be quite cold initially, but when you get to know them, they’re incredibly sweet and loyal as friends. And I had some very good friends in Germany growing up and went from sort of a fairly I need to use a Farsi word social guy up until the age of.

[00:28:20] What.

[00:28:20] Would that be, an English pansy?

[00:28:23] I, I don’t know what.

[00:28:26] You can say these days. There are many words you can’t use anymore.

[00:28:28] So.

[00:28:30] You know, whatever, whatever that is in English to sort of once the testosterone kicked in, I started doing martial arts and I started doing a lot of sport. And, you know, I started making friends and it ended up being a lovely, lovely time.

[00:28:48] Hamburg course, a beautiful town.

[00:28:51] It is a lovely place, but I left Hamburg when I was 18, so I saw a lot of London school and I saw some nightclubs there in the latter years, and that was about it for London.

[00:29:07] I work I work with Germans now. I work with Germans now. And for work I find them excellent. I really do. Very straightforward. One lovely thing about working with Germans, whether you’re buying from them or selling to them, price is not part of the conversation and it’s beautiful. When you take price out of the conversation, then you can talk about all the other things. And with most, most times with buying or selling something, price ends up being the only thing people are talking about and everything else goes out of the window and it just comes down to price. And it’s so refreshing in a joke, you know, I think in the same way as you can’t get a discount on a Porsche or whatever. Yeah. And then it works also when people are buying, we’ve got a distributor in Germany who has never, ever mentioned price. It’s just the way, you know, it’s not part of the the conversation. And the other thing is when we have stuff made in Germany, which if you know much about the Dental world, you know, the vast majority of stuff’s made in Germany anyway. Yeah, yeah, you’re right. You’re right. The majority is wrong. But certainly historically that’s that’s why it’s was in Germany and all that. Right. When you buy stuff from from from there, when you when you want to do something new, I don’t know. We wanted to do a desensitise or in a pen or something for the sake of the argument. When they can’t do it, they’ll say, look, we can’t do that, you know, or they’ll be very straightforward about it. Whereas some of our American manufacturers, you know, everything is possible until it’s not not possible. And it’s a refreshing thing for work now as a society to live in. I don’t know. I they’ve never lived there, but.

[00:30:43] They’re exactly the same when you live with a very straightforward, you know, if they don’t like you, they’ll tell you they don’t like you and they’ll stop communicating with you. And when when they become your friend. I mean, we’re generalising now and it’s a very mixed community and it’s becoming more and more mixed. Yeah. Especially in the last probably 30 or 40 years. But I’m I’ve always enjoyed that company and I’ve never experienced any sort of xenophobia or racism from from from Germans while living there. I lived there for 11 years.

[00:31:17] So you call it two guys. What were your first impressions of of dental school? Was it as you expected it to be or were you down about it? Or. Because I wasn’t very happy at all at the beginning. Dental school, did you did you take to it very quickly?

[00:31:32] Yes, it was brilliant. Freshers week was was a blast. I sort of I’d been living on my own in Guildford doing A-levels for for a year prior to that. Can you imagine. I was like between, that’s between the ages of 18 and 19 with all the hormones building up to my eyeballs. So when I when I arrived at guys, it was phenomenal.

[00:31:56] Where were your parents? Still in Germany.

[00:31:58] I was here on my own. Yes, they were in Germany.

[00:32:01] Oh, wow. So did you stay in halls in guys?

[00:32:04] Yes.

[00:32:05] Wolfson House. And remember, we you sort of freshest week. Everyone’s friendly. Everyone wants to be your friend and you sort of you very quickly find your your clique and the group of people you want to hang out with. And you go from there. And I met some lovely people with whom I’m still in touch. 21, 25 years on, 30 years on.

[00:32:30] I So were you as a student as were you studious? Were you near the top of the class or were you passing all your exams first time? Or what were you who were you?

[00:32:38] I don’t think passing your exams first time is makes you studious.

[00:32:43] I actually no, I did. I did. I did. It makes you a failure. I failed.

[00:32:49] Dental, public health and oh.

[00:32:52] My favourite.

[00:32:52] Subject and interesting. I’ll tell you why.

[00:32:55] More at home, you know more at Milan who sadly passed away earlier, earlier this year in May. And I used to play backgammon together. So when we were studying for dental public health, we said, okay, every day we get together, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll study together and then we’ll play some backgammon. What we ended up doing is not studying at all and played, you know, backgammon. You usually play to five. We said, forget that we’re playing 55, 50 classics.

[00:33:28] You think of the way of doing it. Yeah. So, so yes.

[00:33:32] It’s the only, only exam. I’ve failed in my life until very recently. I’ve recently felt something else. I failed a martial arts grading and it was devastating.

[00:33:44] It was because.

[00:33:44] I wasn’t used to it. You know, it’s been I’m 50 now. It has been years since. 20, 24 years, 26 years since I last felt anything.

[00:33:55] So did you. Did you have in your head that you were going to specialise from even pre preclinical days and it was kind of finding what you were going to specialise in. Where did you have that in your head? I’m going to be a specialist.

[00:34:07] You know what? When I said I’m going to specialise, specialise, my my wife said, what? You because I wasn’t particularly studious to answer your earlier question. And, you know, we were having a good time at uni, so I found it really unlikely that I would want to go and commit another four years to to study. But it probably was the best decision I took. You know, I’ve really enjoyed it. And it’s good to have sort of, you know, I am a jack of all trades. I’m not just talking in the dental sense. My some of my friends call me auto balancer, which which is sort of a monkey wrench. Right. It adapts to to most things. And I think I’m quite adaptable and I enjoy many different things. So specialising was good and it sort of gives you I guess it gives you kudos and it gives you recognition for being good at a certain field. But really I enjoy a lot of things within dentistry and there are many other things I avoid. And one of the reasons I set up this practice at 76 is because I wanted to have the people who are good at the things I’m not good at around me. So I can I don’t I’m really lazy. I don’t like writing letters, so I can just hand, hand over my patient to them and say, look, this, this is the problem. Do you mind dealing with it? And that that’s been probably my main motivation for setting up 76 was I wanted to have everything under one roof.

[00:35:45] So we’ll get back to the the the back story again. But let’s go back to 76 then to build up a referral base, enough to feed the number of specialists that you’ve got there. I guess it’s not just referral. I guess you get patients word of mouth from from patients as well. You’ve got you get you’ve got direct patients coming directly to you as well as referrals. Yes. That must be. Yeah. But to build up to to fill that place, it takes a level of I mean I don’t know as a, as a person in my situation, I’m like, I would think marketing is the way that you would fill that place up. And it’s strange because, you know, dentistry wasn’t ever about marketing. It was about it was about reputation, word of mouth. And you’ve done it the old way. You’ve done it the normal way. And it goes to show reputation, word of mouth. This is the way to to to fill these places up. But you still didn’t expand for me on, you know, what were the key things? What were the key moments, the key decisions that that made you succeed in this difficult situation? I mean, how did you pay the bills to start with? I did. You have hairy moments, remortgaged?

[00:36:54] Yeah. Yeah. After a year, I took out some more money on the house, but it was going the right direction, you know, it wasn’t.

[00:37:02] You could tell it that. Yeah.

[00:37:03] After. Yeah, I had grossly underestimated our expenses. Like by probably by a factor of five or something like that.

[00:37:11] You mean the build cost or the day to day expenses.

[00:37:14] Day to day expenses. The build cost was sort of you get quotes and that. Yeah. And I worked with a fantastic team, a Polish outfit. He, he was his name is Andrew Trajkovski. He’d previously studied theology and computer sciences in Poland and was the job market was great in Poland. So he’d come here and set up a construction company and they refitted this place in six weeks. And the reason it had to be six weeks was I had to see my first patient before the third. So I signed my contract on the 22nd of January and my accountant said, You have to be working before the 31st of March to be able to claim your expenses within the first year. So that was the reason we had to be open for the 31st of March. And I remember my first patient walked in, it was a Saturday and I was still sweeping the floor from the dust, from the builders. So when when my patient walked in, I sort of I thought elegantly but very clumsily, move the broom behind me, leant it against the wall behind me and next, next to me. And as I walked towards my patient, the broom hit the floor, made a massive crack. And it was very embarrassing. But to come back to answer your question, the fact is that made this practice successful. I had a very experienced practice manager John Sampson from would go so and again I can give you a long story about how I found Joss, but she was when we started working probably in her early 60.

[00:38:51] And she’d been a dental nurse since she was 16. So she came and she’d always worked in the West End of London, so she’d seen it all. She worked with brilliant dentists and knew her way around. I worked with a brilliant nurse called Barbara Scullion, who’s now moved down to Weymouth. Unfortunately, her and I got on like a house on fire and I came across Barbara in this practice I used to rent out in Wimpole Street, and then I actually stopped working for a while because I was working for a practice and Barbara didn’t have a job and I said, Please don’t go looking for another job. I’ll, I’ll carry on paying you until I find myself a practice because we just got on really well. And she was brilliant at what she did and my patients loved her. And the, the and they, the patients could see that we gelled and we worked well together. And a lot of the time, I mean, people still ask after Barbara and I speak to her every other week, know we’re still very good friends. So those were probably my two key people that helped me set up this practice. The other people that helped set up the practice where they’re specialists. So from word go, we had work Rowan working here with us. We had had mammography. Who did? Perry Over here we had Johnny Johnston started doing paediatrics and we slowly each each of us had had our own referral base.

[00:40:21] We then had the medical side and we used to do head to toe health care, which which is now evolved into something else. The Centre for Health and Human Performance is now mainly about physio and about getting people to perform at their peak. But I’m not involved in that business anymore and we sort of expanded that in 2012 and I stepped back from it for reasons we’ll come to speak about, as you alluded to earlier. But yeah, those were sort of the main, main avenues. We just had a lot of different avenues through which people were coming, coming into 76. And then a phenomenon happened, which I wasn’t expecting. People who came to see me for the last I don’t know, I qualified as a dentist in 97. I set this place up in 2007, so I’d been working all along. I started working in practice in 2008, sorry, in 1998, alongside doing house jobs and as a job. So I was I always had a sort of Saturday job or an evening job to work at Whitecross on Wednesday evenings between six and midnight while I was doing my postgraduate degree. And then when I had my own place, suddenly people recommended our practice to their spouse, to their siblings, to their family, and all of a sudden it started mushrooming. Whereas for all those years I’ve been seeing these people, they wouldn’t be referring anyone else into the practice.

[00:41:48] And I actually I still don’t know why that would happen at that point. But yeah, it was. I think the practice was quite welcoming. Joss was brilliant, Barbara was brilliant. And a real people, people, if that’s the word, the environment was nice. It was all new and plush and white walls and all fairly clinical and clean. And we have big rooms. I mean, for a dental practice, I think we have relatively big rooms and they’re quite inviting. So I think a combination of all of those things and then we put in some gimmicks right from the start. So the kids had in those days it was Netflix, it was a PS3 so they could watch things on the PS3 or play things on the PS3 while they were being seen. And it was nice to have headphones and a remote control in their hand. It took them away from dentistry and that’s sort of always been my aim to do dentistry in the least disruptive and most entertaining way possible. So other other bits around me provide the entertainment, and I mean this in the kindest way. Barbara, my nurse, was entertaining. She was brilliant to talk to people. I couldn’t get any dentistry done because my my patients wanted to talk to Barbara. It just was very welcoming and entertaining and that sort of that was probably the seed to making this practice grow. So again, going back, I think I’ve just been lucky with the people I’ve come across.

[00:43:19] I mean, it’s interesting because you when I ask you what’s the key things and you immediately went to people. You know, only you know, some people wouldn’t do that. You immediately went to people, people, people, people, people. You’re to keep people. And then these specialists and then you summarise it with people again, you know what? What makes you such a people person? I mean, is it just comes to second nature that to do things, you need people because you strike me as a perfectionist and perfectionist tend to have trouble delegating anything. Never had you does that.

[00:43:59] Never done it.

[00:43:59] Perfect in my.

[00:44:00] Life.

[00:44:01] So are you not a perfectionist?

[00:44:04] You you can you can always strive for perfection. But I have not achieved perfection in anything in my life. And I don’t think I ever will. I don’t think I don’t think it’s attainable.

[00:44:16] But, you know, things need to be a certain way for you. People need to be treated a certain way and all of that. Do you think do you think you sort of instil call it I mean, in business brand values, would you would you instil that in your people just because of the relationship you have with them? Or did you work work on it?

[00:44:38] No, I think I’ve just come across people who are like minded and those who have been like minded have stayed with us and have either adopted or added their flavour to the practice. And I’ve always wanted this practice to be a kind, caring place first and foremost. I’ve always wanted it to be a fun place for us. For me, I want to work in a place where I look forward to going in every morning. I don’t want to come into work environment where people are stressed or people don’t get on or, you know, I’d rather deal with that situation and end a situation if it’s stressful and we’ve had to do that and make sure everyone else that that’s sort of the machine carries on chugging along happily. And I think again, we’ve been lucky in that my current business manager, Emma Russell, has really contributed to that. Again, she was a young person, she is a young person. She hasn’t hit 30 yet who is a real people person. And she had no experience in dentistry at all. She worked at a vet before we advertised the job. She was a candidate and she had that sort of. Kindness and drive. That made me think, yes, she’ll be able to do this job without any previous dental experience. And within six months she owned it. And now she’s telling the rest of us how how to how to run things.

[00:46:04] Just brilliant.

[00:46:05] How how involved are you on the management side? You kind of leave that up to her and her teams or do you get involved?

[00:46:14] No, I think I do get involved because I’m asked a lot of questions every day, which which makes me think I’m involved. And also, when I’ve got the option of working in a room where the decon area is detached from, and I like being in the room where the deacon area is right next to me because it sort of keeps my finger on the pulse and I can see how things are done and I can. I only need to get up and look around the corner to see how people are, how things are done. So I think I like to be involved. I like to know what’s going on. And you know, I’ve been working with Emma now since 2018, so we’ve got a good understanding of the things I can do by herself and the things that still run past me. And to be honest, she runs more personally than I need her to see. She’s sort of she she she could be a lot more independent and I trust her implicitly.

[00:47:12] What does what does it take to to be a referral practice? You know, I’m sure it’s a struggle.

[00:47:19] To get referrals happy.

[00:47:21] It’s not a struggle. It is really, really enjoyable because, look, we’re here to provide a service where we’re. And it’s really fun. And it’s it’s I was going to say it’s an honour and it is, but it sounds a bit pompous. It’s really nice for people to trust you, to treat that patient, do what you need, and then ask them to go back and see them. And it’s kind of sort of we’re then showing off what we’ve done by sending the patient back and saying, look, this, you referred them in. This is what we’ve done. Here is an x ray of it. Here’s a report. Thank you very much. Would be happy to do it again. And that sort of that’s what’s kept us going. And we don’t have a huge referral base. As you know, I’m I’m a relatively although I’m a people’s person, I’m also a relatively private person when it comes to business. So we don’t splash around a lot. We don’t sort of I don’t think we advertise much. I think we do. Emma started putting things on Instagram that we do, but apart from that, we don’t really have much going on.

[00:48:32] So what’s the reason for that?

[00:48:34] I know it’s a comfort thing. I think I’m just not comfortable doing it. I’ve never been comfortable advertising. We used to advertise in Angels and Urchins for Johnny Johnson. We stopped doing that because we only had limited access to Joanna because she’s the clinical director at Guy’s and sort of her time became more and more limited. So we couldn’t actually put patients in with her. And the number of patients that she’d built up was so big that we really couldn’t take on much more. But now we work with three fantastic paediatric dentists. Sarah Johnson’s here, the other two are one of them’s new, and the other one is on maternity leave at the moment. But, you know, they sort of keep us going.

[00:49:20] Yeah, but what I’m saying is.

[00:49:21] Sorry, there’s babbling.

[00:49:23] No, I get it. No, you get it right. I understand what you’re saying, but what I’m. What I’m asking is to be a practice like yours. You do need to be out there a little bit for people to know you, but you’re not. You know, someone who for someone who’s been a very a risk taker, you’ve done what you’ve done and you turn up to work every day. Enjoy. You know, when I say it’s a struggle, you’re like, no, I enjoy it. Right? So you enjoy the process of of work. You know, it’s important. And yet you shy, shy away from it. Are you simply saying it’s just not you or are you saying what are you saying? Because, you know, you’ve got a hard time in the practice, very high profile periodontist. People know.

[00:50:02] Him well. He’s like, stop.

[00:50:03] Stop working with us. You stopped working with us three years ago, four years ago.

[00:50:08] Because I was like.

[00:50:10] He’s more involved with Pyrex Academy. So we’ve got kids in L.A. working in the kitchen.

[00:50:16] So, you know, it would make sense to be for you to be more sort of out there, more famous, more trying to caught attention. Are you saying it’s kind of I don’t know. It’s just not.

[00:50:27] You know, and the same way we’ve attract the patients we have and the patients that have trusted to come and see us the same way dentists have trusted us and have found us through recommendation. And I always find that’s a much more organic, much better way of starting a relationship and then nurturing that relationship because they’ve heard about you, they know who you look. Holly St We’ve got 500 dentists working here and we’re all busy, we’re all working. So competition doesn’t really come into it and we all have our style of doing things and we’re all different. So my patients or the dentists I work with will know how I operate and they’ll, they’ll recommend people to, to work with to that who appreciate the way we do things. And then there are the mysteries of this world and the Michael Hortons of this world and, you know, who have got their their referral bases were brilliant at what they do. And and it’s it’s good. So I don’t need to sort of advertise because it comes through organically anyway. We’re all busy, we’re all working now.

[00:51:36] But you don’t, you don’t need to water ski, but you still water ski. So what I’m saying is that you’ve got if you’ve got something against it.

[00:51:43] No, I don’t have anything against it.

[00:51:44] It’s just not me. I’ve just just never I don’t think we’ve ever been good at it or looked into getting good at it. And I’ve never looked at growing this practice in any other way than just organically. So it’s the only way this practice has grown is by, by reputation and by recommendation. And I like that. I’m comfortable with that.

[00:52:10] It’s kind of beautiful. It’s kind of beautiful.

[00:52:12] I’ve never I’ve never had ambitions to have have an empire or to to to I’m primarily a dentist. I’m not a businessman. And I’ve never been good at business. And what one thing Joss was really good at was business. And Emma’s really good at that now. So they they do the business side of things. I do mainly my dentistry.

[00:52:37] It’s good. It’s good to hire opposite strength to your own, isn’t it? I mean, that’s that’s a key thing. I’ve got a marketing manager who’s just, like, highly reliable, pushes me all the time because I’m not that cat, you know, that, you know, I need that person to keep on telling me, you know, what time what time will you have that in mind? But having said that, you don’t want to a group you did set up the second practice. How was that? Tell me the process behind that. What happened?

[00:53:06] My very good friend of 20 years plus parricide said, Yeah, I want to start practice in the city. Will you come and do it with me? And I said, Of course I will. That was it.

[00:53:19] Really.

[00:53:20] Feels like that was the process.

[00:53:21] That was it literally. That was the that was the process. He said, you know, I’ll find a place where will you come and run it with me? And I said, Yes, of course it will. Because by that time, yes, by that time, I mean we started that practice in 2014. By that time I’d been working seven years. We had some track record here at 76. It was it was working. It was working space. So and Farid works here with me two days a week. So he has been on the very inside of the workings of my practice. He knows everything. Whatever he couldn’t see, I would tell him. So, you know, he’s a very straight shooter. Lovely, lovely, kind human being. I couldn’t imagine working with a better person.

[00:54:02] So, look, both we know the differences between the practices in terms of just aesthetics and. Well, I do. One is very sort of old style, beautiful. And the other sort of state of the art modern and one’s highly street. The others in the city but. Outside of that, what’s, what’s the same about the practice? Are they both multidisciplinary specialist centres?

[00:54:26] We’ve got people like Robert Crawford working at Boston House, got fired for working there. So we’ve got sort of restorative comfort there. We’ve got Natasha writes in orthodontics at both places, so there isn’t really much of a market for paediatric dentistry in the city. But yeah, we’ve got specialists working at both. We’ve got. But the difference is that in the city we’ve got two general dentists working there as well cost us and. Anyway. We have dentists working there also.

[00:55:05] So did you go for the Invisalign and all of that?

[00:55:09] Natasha does Invisalign. She’s an orthodontist.

[00:55:12] Oh, you’ve got your specialist in. But the generalist, what kind of. What’s the profile? I mean, what are they busy doing.

[00:55:19] Cost us does a lot of general dentistry and a lot of implant work in aesthetic dentistry. He’s a brilliant dentist. He spent half his time at Boston House and the other half here at State DaVinci Dentistry. And he’s he’s a very, very good dentist with very high standards and does beautiful work. He’s half Cypriot, half Russian, treats a lot of Russian patients because he speaks the lingo. And a lot of Russians who come here, especially from embassies and so on, don’t really speak that much English or don’t like to speak English if they can get away with speaking Russian. So that’s the sort of people he treats. Other than that, we started the practice. I think you were there when I was putting up a sign outside, outside the practice and you took a picture of it. So yeah, other than that, it’s sort of a mix of general and specialist dentistry.

[00:56:18] So Farhad, you’re a bit of a daredevil type, but if adrenaline junkie, junkie type, all the all the stuff you did go through it. What do you do?

[00:56:30] Outside of dentistry.

[00:56:31] Yeah, yeah. Water skiing, fly planes. What do you do?

[00:56:36] I don’t fly. Well, my. My neighbour is Harold Pre-school. He’s a.

[00:56:45] Pilot.

[00:56:45] Pilot and he’s taken me up in his chipmunk, which was great fun. And he sort of does roles and loops and that sort of stuff in that plane, which was great fun. So compared to that, I’m definitely no daredevil.

[00:56:58] No, I like I like sports.

[00:57:01] I’m one of those weird people who, you know, you go into the gym and the music starts before a class and the corners of my mouth go up immediately. And I look forward to whatever punishment is coming our way and really enjoy it and laugh all the way through and look forward to sort of getting the best of the instructor by doing it. Extra ten Push-Ups at the end or whatever it is, it’s I think it’s a genetic thing. I don’t think I can take any credit for it. I’m just wired that way, but I enjoy exercise. So yes, I do. I know when. When we’re on holiday, when we’re anywhere near the sea. Everything from kitesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, wake surfing. I tried these new flight boards recently. Which. Oh, that’s pretty good fun. They’ve got a hydrofoil underneath them. So as you speed up, the board slowly rises out of the water, and you’re like the Silver Surfer. You were sort of gliding along without touching the water. It’s great fun.

[00:58:11] Amazing. It does look amazing that. Have you done just traditional surfing? Surfing. Wave surfing?

[00:58:18] Yes, I did. I could tell you a story about that. I nearly, nearly got lost in the Caribbean.

[00:58:25] It’s hard. Is there.

[00:58:26] By. Yeah. I haven’t surfed for a really long time. And then I started surfing and I started getting braver and braver and going further and further out. And then the waves picked up and the wind picked up. And I fell and hit my knee on the dagger board and on the dagger board on the board. So I couldn’t stand up anymore. And sort of 15, 20 minutes later, I couldn’t see land. It was quite an interesting experience. And then a boat picked me up and dropped me back off closer to shore, and they’d already scrambled someone to come and look for me.

[00:59:01] Oh, did you? For a minute there, I think. What if. No, you must. You must, boy. You must have. You know, when you could. Could you not swim?

[00:59:08] So sorry.

[00:59:09] Could you swim there for a minute?

[00:59:12] Well, it didn’t didn’t come to that. It was fine.

[00:59:17] Okay. We’re going to move on to the darker part of the show. Let’s talk about errors. Uh huh. I’d like to I’d like to hear about things that you think were maybe clinical errors. And I know you’re not the type to regret anything but things, things that you think were errors as far as the business side, the practice side. What comes to mind when I say that?

[00:59:40] I’ve. So in terms of the business, I’ve I’ve made mistakes in working with people that I shouldn’t have worked with. And they then it gets difficult, it gets, it’s easy and it’s, it’s, it’s a bit like it’s a bit like marriage when, when things are good and you’re first get married and everything’s good and you never think of anything that anything bad could happen and then something bad can happen. And then you sort of don’t see. A certain thing at the same way, and then it becomes difficult to to change or break that relationship. So that’s been difficult.

[01:00:20] But do you think do you think you went. Do you think you sort of went against your instincts and and then live to regret it?

[01:00:28] Absolutely. Absolutely I did. But, you know, you do things when when when you are when you’re starting out in business. There are always people around you who are in a stronger position than you are, because when you were starting off, you feel you’re the new boy or the weaker person, or at least I was. And I did go along with things that I.

[01:00:54] Shouldn’t it?

[01:00:57] You are not going into it any further than that.

[01:00:59] I probably best leave it at that.

[01:01:04] What about what about clinical?

[01:01:06] Clinical. I can. Where do you want to start?

[01:01:11] I’ll start with. Let’s start with a note. Oh, God.

[01:01:14] Moment. Okay. One of.

[01:01:16] The most.

[01:01:17] I mean, this is really skeleton territory. The most scared and embarrassed I’ve been was. I was working at Whitecross in Victoria. That’s 2001. Probably so about 20 years ago. I wasn’t specialist. I’d qualified in 97. So I’ve done some stage jobs and some part time practice jobs, and I was replacing a veneer for a young patient. So I as I’ve been taught, I taught some groups into it. I split it up and then I used a flat plastic to flick off the bits of veneer. And part of the tooth broke off with with the veneer. And I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared, embarrassed and shocked in my clinical practice. That’s certainly a moment that will live with me forever.

[01:02:17] How much of the tooth? How much are we talking?

[01:02:19] Oh, a quarter of it. More than more than needed to.

[01:02:26] Okay.

[01:02:28] Any more come to mind? As an implant guy, you must have had implant moments, right? You must.

[01:02:33] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was placing an implant for a friend of mine. A very good friend of mine. A friend of mine that I’ve known since Germany. We’ve been at school together since we were 14. I was replacing his upper left second molar. And again, this is the same era, 2021, probably amongst the first 1015 implants I’ve placed, and I hadn’t assessed the radiograph properly. It was entirely my fault. So I left a flap, I stopped the osteotomy and there was not enough bone for me to put the length of implant I was planning to put in without putting about a third of it into the sinus. So yeah, that was a shocking moment and I had to explain to him that I won’t be placing an implant for you today, and I’m just going to close this up and let it all heal.

[01:03:28] How far do you go then before you realised that you’d done the prep?

[01:03:31] So I’d left it alone. I’d. Well you find out pretty quickly with the first first twist drill that you put in that it’s going into thin air rather than into bone. So yes, that was a fairly shocking moment. And he he was quite a nervous character anyway. So it’s. Yeah.

[01:03:54] Every day. I feel like I feel like you’re getting some catharsis out of these these these questions. I feel like you’re enjoying them.

[01:04:00] I’m not enjoying them.

[01:04:01] It was a horrendous moment, my life. But I also you know, that it’s I think tell me tell me about tell me.

[01:04:09] About this like this. But of course, as long as you only do them once and you.

[01:04:14] Learn.

[01:04:15] And it makes you a lot more astute and a lot more careful for the rest of your life.

[01:04:21] Listen, tell me tell me this. You’ve been experienced now for 25 years as a dentist that very sort of very top end of it. And the thing about experience is that you can’t buy experience. You can’t accelerate experience. Experience is the thing that takes time. That’s what it is. Yeah. But what would you say? Is it the stuff that goes wrong? I mean, I’m remembering a conversation I had with Andrew Dorward where he said, look, a lot of a lot of dentists, they think that by talking about the stuff that could go wrong, the patient’s going to be put off. Going ahead, whereas the more you talk about the stuff that could go wrong, the more they realise you’ve been around and they trust you more and then they’ll go ahead. Now is that what experience of 25 years at the end of the day? What does that mean? Things have gone wrong over those 25 years have made you this experienced person.

[01:05:17] I mean, when I when I talk to my patients about dental implants, of course, tell them implants. I’ve got a good track record. But the bulk of the conversation is telling them all the things that go wrong with them. So, you know, porcelain chips, off screws, brake implants can break if you become diabetic, if you start taking bisphosphonates, if you start taking other medication, that affects you. I mean, there are so many things that can go wrong. And I give them some statistics about what percentage of implants develop some form of problem.

[01:05:48] Yeah, but but listen, anyone could do that, right? You could just you’re a brand new graduate. Could do that if you’ve given that. But experience is in this situation, you as an experienced practitioner knows that in this particular situation, this particular thing could go wrong. And at the end of the day, what my point is, experience comes from things going wrong. I mean, it’s by its very nature, of course, it comes when things go right.

[01:06:16] Yeah, but you become good. You’re not good because you’ve got an excellent pair of hands. Of course it helps. Or I think you become experienced or good at avoiding problems by being able to look ahead. So before before you do something, you can see all the things that could go wrong and therefore you can you can avoid them. And that’s you learn the hard way.

[01:06:42] Yeah. Yeah. So that’s that’s what I mean. It’s very, it’s a really super like useful thing to talk about, which was we don’t talk about much, do we? It’s just one of those things we don’t I don’t know.

[01:06:54] We don’t know.

[01:06:55] I’m super, super comfortable talking about failures or things of that have gone wrong and my, my, my.

[01:07:03] One more, one more, one more, one more. It doesn’t have to be clinical because whatever you whatever comes to mind, whatever comes to mind.

[01:07:11] I think I’ve learned not to not to be a first adopter with things. So when Sarah came out, this was also in the 2000. I placed a lot of I switched to all ceramic and placed a lot of crowns and I thought, this is brilliant. And all of them failed. All of them cracked. I replaced all of them free of charge, and some of them would crack after two years, some of them after five years. But they would eventually break and they would always break the same way. So just because something’s new and people talk about it and people want to do it is not a good reason for me to jump on it. I only bought a scanner in 2018 because I want to. I didn’t want to be bound to to a single system. And I wanted the thing to be very predictable and sort of powder free and all of that. So we’ve only started using scanners since 2018, which is not that long ago.

[01:08:07] No, I think Basil said a similar thing and it’s look, you guys, you’re highly predictable with impressions. And then to then say, okay, even though you’ve got this highly predictable way of doing it, now, do it this new way. Introduce all these risks that, you know, you’re not you’re not taking those risks with with impressions. And I put that to him and I put it to you as well, that you have to tread an interesting line between doing the tried and tested thing that, you know, works. And you have to try new things as well.

[01:08:43] Because you want you want improve if you don’t try new things.

[01:08:46] Yeah, exactly.

[01:08:47] Exactly. You know, scanners have been around for, what, 25 years and we’ve only now trusted them because also the margin of error that I mean, you know, a lot of people use serac, but serac in the old days was was terrible, you know, the things people made chair site and fitted. You would never accept that from a technician. You would never fit something that hasn’t been stained.

[01:09:14] Polished and.

[01:09:16] Glazed. And yet because the dentists were doing themselves, it was acceptable to them to sort of manufacture this thing to fit it. And the patients don’t know about where rates and what what, what the roughness of the porcelain does to the opposing tooth, etc.. So and also the sort of as what we get, we get obsessed with marginal fit and marginal error and that sort of stuff. And, and that’s only become better than impressions probably in the last five years, five, six years. So I swear by it, I love my scanner. I use it on pretty much every patient now even to have it because I’m also getting older and I remember less so I never needed to look at patient’s notes. I remembered everything about every patient I used to see. That’s not the case anymore, so I need to rely on my notes a lot more now. And it is really helpful to have x rays and a scan of the patient to see, to remind myself what I’m looking at.

[01:10:16] What have you got? Three sheep?

[01:10:17] Yes.

[01:10:19] So take me through. Let’s say a patient comes to you from let’s say it’s not a referral. Let’s say someone’s come, you know, emails your clinic. Yeah. Says I want to be seen about my whatever the way patients will say my missing teeth. Yeah. What happens? What’s. What’s the next thing that happens there? Who gets in touch? Is it. Is that the TKO?

[01:10:41] Yeah, we’ve got a treatment coordinator daughter. She’s she’s lovely. And she is an Eastman trained nurse who decided not to do nursing anymore and decided to do initially reception. And now she’s become a treatment coordinator courses and she’s very personable. So they’ll get an email to fill out some some details about medical history and what the reason is who’s referred them. And they make an appointment and they generally, depending on what they’re coming in for, I mean, they’re been referred to me as either a patient to come and see me for a particular reason, or sometimes people can just to come in for an exam because they haven’t seen a dentist for a long time. And we don’t we don’t turn anyone away.

[01:11:28] So how long is that initial exam that you would give a new patient.

[01:11:32] At one hour? Every every every initial appointment is one hour.

[01:11:36] In the hour. What if what if you notice that, you know, I’m the wrong person to see you? Just you just give that our. What you think if there’s someone else who should. You know, I mean I mean, at the end of the day.

[01:11:48] Your patients kind of come in and I still need to do my full examination.

[01:11:54] And I got your full record.

[01:11:56] And speak to the patient and see what they’re after and what we can do for them. For example, if they’ve got periodontal problems, I then suggest they go and see hitn and what has often happened and I’ve said, Look, I’m really sorry you’ve been booked with the wrong speciality or the wrong dentist here. We’re not going to charge you for this appointment. Please make an appointment with my colleague and they will see to your need.

[01:12:25] Let’s say, let’s say you are right. And now you’ve done the one hour. You’ve given the patient some understanding of what you think, I guess, by this point. And then what do you do? Do you write to the patient with a treatment?

[01:12:38] Every patient, even if they need no treatment, will get a letter. Even if the letter just says you’ve got a clean bill of health, your teeth are good, your gums are good. We’ll see you in six months. Every patient gets a report.

[01:12:51] What is how do you get that? You dictate that. Do you actually write it?

[01:12:54] I write up my notes and Georgia will put put the letter together. I then read, read it, adjusted, add some bits to it, and then Georgia sends it off.

[01:13:04] And so how do you do it that day? Is that is that your process or how soon will I get that letter as the patient?

[01:13:11] It’s rare for a letter to be sent out the same day. It usually takes about a week or so.

[01:13:16] Okay. So I get the letter from you and you say, look, my recommendation is whatever it is. Yeah, three implants down here, two crowns and whatever. What what happens.

[01:13:26] Next?

[01:13:27] I’d be sorry to interrupt you. The I think the important part is to especially in this day and age, with with being aware of litigation, you you have to make sure you give patients options rather than rather than just a plan. So you go through various options. The most likely I mean, I don’t go through 12 different options. Even if 12 different options were available. You sort of establish at the of the examination stage what the patient’s after, what direction there’s there’s no point writing to a patient who wants another complete denture about putting six implants into that drawer. They know that the option exists. You discuss it with them, but you’re very quick and come to the OR they will explain for whatever reason that’s not what they want. And then you can mention it, but talk more about what they’re actually after.

[01:14:23] Yeah. So, so, so you give them two options for the sake of the argument or you give them a stabilisation phase in order, whatever it is. So now patients got this is, is the process that they will make another appointment to go through that with you or or what happens now depends.

[01:14:37] On the complexity of the the treatment plan. So if it’s something simple like a crown or a treatment, then no, I won’t see them again. They’re just looking to have that procedure done. If it’s a formal invitation, I’ll see them several times before we start, before we pick up a drug, because we first that is, depending on what it is, you might make a michigan appearance first, stop them grinding, then you might make a diagnostic workup, then you might build the teeth up in composite, you know. So it depends on what the patient’s coming in for.

[01:15:15] So let’s say it is a big job. It’s something something big like a full mouth rehab. Look, did you see the patient again? Let’s say you sort of figure it out.

[01:15:24] My aim is to show the patient in their mouth what they’re going to end up with before I do anything. So the best way to do that is with a sort of mock up in their mouth of what what things are going to look like. And that’s not always possible. But more often than not, it is possible to do that with a temporary, temporary mock up and we will use pro temp and the diagnostic wax up, make some indices and try it over their teeth or something along those lines.

[01:15:57] Have you ever bothered with the whole DSD workflow or.

[01:16:01] No, I haven’t. I haven’t. And maybe because I’m a dinosaur, maybe because it’s just not I don’t do a lot of I spend more time talking patients out of having cosmetic dentistry have it. I mean, I happily do it as part of a bigger treatment plan. I’ll happily do it for all the patients. I’ve many times refused to put veneers on on sort of 20 something year old. So it’s just not what I do. It’s not what I want to get known for. So that’s not the wrong practice for that. But I don’t I also don’t recommend them to have it done. So I don’t say so. And so we’ll do it for you because I just say this is not a reasonable thing to do. If you have some whitening, does have some bonding, then have some ortho and, you know, keep your teeth.

[01:16:49] Sure, sure. So, so but okay, let’s say the patient comes in again. You explain things. Let’s say the patient then doesn’t contact you again. Is that it? You leave it at that or is there a follow up process that you guys do?

[01:17:01] No, we don’t follow up. We don’t follow up on patients who I mean, we make sure they’ve received the our treatment plan. And as far as aware, I need to check with what the girl signs they do anything else. But as far as I’m aware, we don’t we don’t chase chase them at all.

[01:17:19] And what about the issue of price and costs? Do you get you get patients asking about giving them discounts, anything like that happen ever?

[01:17:28] Yes, I have been asked and I guess I’m fairly dramatic about it. I don’t like talking about money at all. I don’t think we’re an unreasonably priced practice where I think we provide quite good value for money. And I find it almost insulting to sort of. It’s not health care shouldn’t be an area where you want to skimp or save or it’s just not worth it. And also, I don’t believe in discounted products. So if you give a patient a discount or not, the outcome the patient expects will be the same. Right? If you have a crown done, you want it done perfectly and you want it done with the best materials to the best of the person’s ability. And that service has been priced at a certain level. Why would you why would you want to challenge that? Why wouldn’t you just go somewhere else if you didn’t want to have that done? Where where it meets your budget better.

[01:18:30] Is a nice Germanic way of looking. I like that. Yeah. I don’t like talking money either. It’s weird because some people are very confident about it and some people just aren’t. And I don’t know. I don’t know where it comes from. Like I hate sales.

[01:18:47] Let me give you I’ve got a I had a patient who seemed to be talking about my dead patients a lot.

[01:18:54] This chap.

[01:18:55] He was Egyptian and he came in one day and he said, Farid, I want you to replace my two front clowns. I said, Yes, sir. You know, I it was at the end of the day, I could I could work that day. And he wanted it done there. And then I sort of knew the calibre of patient I was talking to. So I said, Forgive me for saying this. I don’t ever do anything without telling my patients what the procedure is, how long it’ll take, what it will cost, etc.. So it may I, may I just impart that information to you? And he said, yes, indulge me. So I told him and he says, Right side, let me tell you something, just to put your mind at ease. I just flew over from Dubai where I spent whatever an obscene amount of money on his hotel room. And basically he said, You’re fine, just do what you need. So I’ve used him as an example. Whenever I feel don’t feel comfortable talking money to a patient. I sort of say, you know, I’ve had this said to me before, forgive me for mentioning this, but I don’t usually do things without telling you what the cost is. And then, you know, because these days it’s really, really rare for you to do anything without writing to the patient first. Anyway, it just doesn’t happen anymore. It used to be more more commonplace.

[01:20:08] So we you know, it’s times flown by. I think we’re an hour and a half in. We, we tend to finish these always with the same two questions. Perhaps not here, but I’ll start with perhaps. Your deathbed. Nearest and dearest around you. What? Three pieces of advice. Would you leave them?

[01:20:37] Oof!

[01:20:43] To have sympathy empathy sorry is is probably important to me to because you never know what’s going on in other people’s lives. So to show some level of understanding, to try and show some level of understanding towards others. To be kind. And the last thing would be, I would say the world and what’s going on around you doesn’t really care about how you feel. So if you want to be successful, I think you have to do what you need to do every day. Despite not feeling great, despite feeling great, despite that doesn’t matter. Your feelings don’t come into your day to day life. You have to have a name and take them off, deal with it.

[01:21:34] So it’s kind of like empathy, kindness. And then the third one, be like a discipline type. Yeah, something like that.

[01:21:42] Yeah, I.

[01:21:44] Yes, I think discipline is very important to me, but also a lot of the time you might, you might get out of bed and you might feel tired, you might feel drained, you might feel like not doing what you need to do. And I think one of one of the things that teaches you about this is having kids actually, because your child still needs feeding. You know, it needs burping, it needs nappy changing, whatever else. So whatever you might be feeling is irrelevant. You have to do it. And I think in life you can treat most things like your baby, like my practice, I treat it like my baby. I look after. It doesn’t matter how I feel about that or how I feel that particular day happens to be that. Most of the time. I feel really good about my practice and I really like being here.

[01:22:34] I love that body. The final, final question. Fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive? Two. Would you have.

[01:22:47] My three guests are all that I’d I’d invite Mohammed, Jesus and Moses because I’d really like to know what they’d have to say about religion these days. I’m not particularly religious myself. But I would really love to know how much of what they supposedly preached or told people about is what we know about them today. So those would be my three ideal guests. I mean, I’d love to invite God, but I think he wouldn’t make it.

[01:23:24] What an.

[01:23:25] Interesting list. How interesting. Especially for someone who’s not very religious. I like that very much, but I like that very much. Jesus and Moses. So nice speaking to you. So nice speaking to you, buddy.

[01:23:40] It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.

[01:23:44] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:24:00] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:24:15] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:24:25] And don’t forget our six star rating.


Life could be very different for Paul Midha if it weren’t for a trajectory-altering encounter with a patient at dental school. 

The Leeds and London based-dentist admits to partying his way through university until witnessing the transformative power of cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

Paul describes how he used lockdown as an opportunity to purchase his first practice shortly after VT and shares some of the techniques he used to achieve incredible first-year growth.

He also discusses the value of mentors, the possible reasons behind a spate of new practice openings in his native Leeds, and much more.



In This Episode

02.20 – Backstory

06.43 – Dental school

11.42 – VT

14.26 – Confidence

16.55 – Practice purchase

25.29 – Blackbox thinking

29.08 – Mentors

31.34 – What’s with Leeds?

33.26 – Marketing

45.26 – Recession and market conditions

49.52 – NHS Vs private dentistry

54.27 – Litigation

57.37 – Building teams

01.01.44 – From Leeds to London

01.06.30 – Fantasy dinner party

01.07.45 – Last day and legacy


About Paul Midha

Paul Midha is the principal dentist at VICI Dental in Leeds and also practices at Square Mile in London.

He trained in aesthetic dentistry with Chris Orr and was a finalist in two categories in the Future of Dentistry Awards 2019.

He is also an actor who starred in Disney’s Evermoor Chronicles and has featured on Britain’s Got Talent as a body-popper.

[00:00:00] What about the actual the picture or video of the ad? Have you found one? Some things work better than others.

[00:00:07] Yeah. Without giving too many gold nuggets away. What I would say is having a picture of a patient with a treating dentist really helps. Having a picture of the practice and having the picture of the practice with nearby common things. So I don’t know if there’s a really statement shop next door, put that in or saying, Oh, we’re right next to X, Y and Z. So that really helps. That really gets a lot of engagement.

[00:00:34] So you don’t you definitely don’t recommend like a stock photo of something.

[00:00:39] That’s not really definite enough.

[00:00:46] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:04] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Paul Miller onto the podcast. Another dentist from Leeds. Leeds seems to be a bit of a hotbed for amazing new practices lately. Loads and loads open. We’ve had loads of guests on the podcast. We’ve opened Super Dippers in Leeds recently, so we’ll go into the reasons for that. Paul’s kind of become an authority figure in Invisalign open days, another with another hat. He’s a marketing company with his brother, expert media tech. On top of that, Paul works in London at Square Mile with Nick and Sanjay Sethi, great friends of this podcast, Amit Patel, Elaine Mau, all of them. They’ve all been on this podcast. So we’ll get into what that will move was about. And then to add to all of that, I’ve done my research. Paul, the first guest to have been on Britain’s Got Talent on this podcast of a dancer. Actor.

[00:02:02] Yeah.

[00:02:04] We’ll get into that. It’s lovely to have you, buddy. How are you?

[00:02:07] Oh, no, I’m very good, thanks. Thanks for having me today on on a nice bank holidays. Good way to wrap up the weekend. Yeah I have done done quite a bit I’ve had my hands in a few things. But you know, dentistry is where my passion is at the moment for sure.

[00:02:20] So as as a child, I mean, this acting thing is quite different, right? So as a child, did you have that moment of saying, am I going to go all in on showbusiness or am I going to be a dentist? Or was that never a Yeah.

[00:02:33] So do you know what I did? I did ask the question. So when I was about 16, that’s when I first went on Britain’s Got Talent. When I was about 19, I got through all the way to the stage before the semi-final and it’s because I break down. So our body pop with a bit of Punjabi dancing as well. So I was, do you know, for me it was a hobby and it was always going to be a hobby because if you think about dentistry, there’s security, there’s loads of things attached to that. Whereas with body puffing you can’t quite, can’t quite do much with that, to be honest. It’s probably like a one in a one in 10 million kind of make it so. But someone like an agent saw me on Britain’s Got Talent and they needed a body popper for that Disney TV show. So they got me in for an episode and we got on so well in season two. I got drafted in for five out of 12 episodes, so I did that during uni during my third year of uni like summer break.

[00:03:26] So time how did you get into body popping at your age? I mean, that’s more like people my age used to do that.

[00:03:33] Do you know what it was? Yeah, just. Just started doing it. I didn’t have a mentor, I didn’t have anything. I just was just dancing in front of the mirror, almost watching a few videos, just picked it up and just really enjoyed it as a as a side hobby. So, yeah, that’s how it came about. Nothing. Nothing special.

[00:03:51] So, Paul, tell me about what kind of a kid were you?

[00:03:55] So I was I was a bit of a cheeky kid, you know, I was one. I love my video games. I wasn’t the greatest worker in the world, but I loved to play sports as well. So I was I was quite sensible, you know, within my family, you know, we’ve got a lot of dentists, probably half the family dentists. So for me, it was all about that stage of getting into dentistry. So making sure education, you know, your, your hobbies to put on your CV or your personal statement was all on point. But yeah, so and also then obviously the dancing and the acting thing as a side. So I tried to do as much, as much as I could with the opportunities.

[00:04:31] Yeah, but outside of dancing, were you always going to go into dentistry? Women who’s a dentist in your family is that you’re very close family.

[00:04:38] Yeah. So I’ve got I’ve got a cousin who’s a professor of paediatric dentistry, my sister, my sister in law, both dentists. I’ve got about ten, 11 cousins that are all dentists. So the dinner chats are very dental orientated, a bit boring actually sometimes.

[00:04:54] So with you having so many dentists in the family, would you say that’s been a massive and. Advantage to you because, you know, Dipesh Parmar does our composite course and yeah, he’s, you know, I mean, he’s undoubtedly one of the most talented dentists I’ve ever come across. So he’s got he’s got talent. But his older brother, who’s many years older than him, is dentist. And then his next brother, the middle brother, is the technician. And, you know, I can just tell the insight he’s got or had. I knew him very early on, just as in vet. I met him and the insight he had into teeth and dental practices was so much more than I what I had. So would you say that’s given you a massive advantage?

[00:05:41] Yeah, I think I think definitely that’s one of the reasons why my main hub is Leeds, because the majority of my family is from Leeds. So in terms of the connections that you get, the networking and even before I even started dental school, my sister in law had a practice, my sister had a practice related to Prem Semi as well, who’s had X amount of practices. So being able to kind of hear how they’ve done it, what works well for them, as well as big mentors of mine at Jen and Kisch as well, and they help me with that. So I think what family does is it gives you a network of support and mentorship and they can’t really say no to you. It’s quite nice. So you can bug them as much as you as you feel.

[00:06:22] Related to them.

[00:06:24] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. A little bit of a further relation, but yeah.

[00:06:28] One of those everyone’s related to everyone’s story.

[00:06:30] So that’s one of those. Definitely one of those. He helped me out. He helped me out a lot in the early days as well.

[00:06:39] So he’s a giver for sure.

[00:06:43] He’s very much.

[00:06:43] Together. So, okay, where did you study?

[00:06:46] So I studied in Sheffield, so that was started in 2013 and then graduated in 2018. And I actually had two cousins in Sheffield Dental School while I was in dental school.

[00:06:57] What kind of a dental student were you? You were sort of the studious type or the party type.

[00:07:01] So if I’m being honest, probably the party type. For me, I didn’t really I’m going to be honest for me. I didn’t really have a passion or I didn’t really enjoy dentistry up until fifth year where one patient changed my life. So it was just a normal, odd clinic. And before then I didn’t really know what was going on clinics wise. I didn’t. I was always late to clinics trying to get out of seeing patients early. Then this one patient came in. I remember I was trying to go away from the clinic, you know, maybe watch a bit Game of Thrones at home. And she came in to force me to kind of see her. And she goes to me, Paula, I’m not smarter than that yet. And I just you know, I start to question why I didn’t smile. And then she had a lateral incisor. And then in my in my eyes, I thought, well, there’s nothing really I can do about that because we’re in dental school. What is that something that we can do in hospital? And I was lucky, my tutor at the time because, well, there are quite a few options that we can do for this patient, even though it’s not technically for health, but it’ll help her mentally at least. So he said, Let’s do it. That’s true. It is a case, you know, you’ve done your targets.

[00:08:08] So all of a sudden I was doing some research of how I could do. I could kind of restore the smile in a way. And he gave me a lot of information, emailed me things like gold and proportion and how to get the right length to with ratio for this to make it look symmetrical, to do a wax up. And all of a sudden I just gained a huge interest. So I really wanted to pull this off for her because I knew how much it would mean for her. So suddenly I was the first person on clinic I was really enjoying because I was really taking on board what the lecturers were saying. And I did the composite with a wax up, you know, something simple. And I took about one and a half to 2 hours, and when I showed her the mirror, she swore out loud, she screamed and everyone gathered around. She was just so happy. She was crying of happiness. And I just thought, Wow, I did that for this person. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. You know that moment where you go, what you were born to do? That was that moment for me. And it’s from there where I really, really gain the passion. But before that, definitely the party side was was who I was.

[00:09:13] It’s interesting. Yeah. Because, you know, her reaction maybe was the final push to make you realise you can change people’s lives and all of that.

[00:09:24] Yeah, I had no idea that you could do that within dentistry. I had no idea how much power dentistry can have on someone’s life. I mean, you might be the reason why someone has the confidence to go for that job or to meet confidence to talk to that special someone then, you know, and it comes down to what you did. So that was when I thought, I need to go down this path.

[00:09:46] I remember I was pushing myself to go into cosmetic dentistry as quickly as possible, and that doesn’t seem like a big thing to say now, because everyone’s doing it now. But. But back then it was. Very bad. It wasn’t a very common thing at all. But but but the reason I was doing it was because my brother had a genesis imperfecta and he went off to the iceman and he was a child. He was like 11 years old or whatever. And they did a they did a full mouth rehab on him. And this kid went who had no confidence or whatever, came back and smiled. And I remember that magic moment to see Jesus. What they they’ve changed his life completely. I was a nine year old or something, but but it stuck with me. And that’s why I pursued cosmetic industry. But the point I want to make was, yeah, the patient’s reaction. But let’s not forget that tutor. Yeah, that tutor.

[00:10:43] Oh, 100%. I mean, if it wasn’t for that tutor or dismissed.

[00:10:47] The tutor who, who went out of his way here to say, okay, there is something we can do here, who supported that? You could be the guy to do that and to hold your hand through that process, not only change that patient’s life, but then change so many other patients lives because of now the person you’ve become. And it shows the importance of teaching and what a massive thing effect you can have as a good you know, we all remember our best teachers from school and all that, but go, don’t shout him out. Who was it?

[00:11:17] So it was Miss the mother. He was one of those that kind of only came into the hospital once a week. And I think because he worked in general dentistry, he almost because it definitely wasn’t hospital guidelines to do that sort of work within the clinic setting. But I think he appreciated how much this patient needed that after we went through a history of presenting complaints. So yeah, I know I owe a lot to so I really appreciate that.

[00:11:42] So then what happened next? You went to VTI?

[00:11:44] Yeah. So I went, I had the summer and I went to vet just kind of nearby the release date at home. But for me, I spoke to my vet trainers. I said this is the type of dentistry I want to do. But they sensibly told me, Look, well, what you need to do is you need to focus on your bread and butter first. You need to be able to do removal care as well, be able to do a simple filling. Well, then you can think about these things and then we’ll teach you a little bit more about these things. And I really got that because dentistry isn’t just, you know, the majority of dentistry comes down to that bread and butter. If you’ve got good foundations, you can then build on that. I mean, and the only sad thing is today you can look on Instagram and you can go, Oh, all these people are doing amazing things, but you don’t see that graft to get to that level. It takes a lot of years, a lot of courses, a lot of mistakes, and some, especially for me, I grew up like when in dental school with Instagram, social media and dentistry all kind of blowing up and you think you can do that sort of work straight away, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. So I was really lucky that my PhD train has really grounded me in that regard. And then I went to the TUBULES conference in Vito and a competition for that. So I was allowed to go and I drew a lot of that as well. Very good guy. I he introduced me to gin that’s shaped a lot of my career knick that day as well. That obviously gave me the job at Square Mile. So from there they both with small clinical group and Square Mile really kind of mentored me to go forward.

[00:13:15] Yeah, you did luck out there because you know some of them.

[00:13:20] All on the same day.

[00:13:21] Well, you know, that’s the other thing about going to conferences, isn’t it? The soft benefits, the they outweigh the hard benefits. Yeah.

[00:13:30] Yeah. I mean, a lot of what people think about conferences is that you’re going to learn or, you know, you’re going to see that lecture. But a lot of it comes down to networking and sharing experiences and learning from other people’s.

[00:13:41] Experiences because, you know, again, we do our course, right? And we have this dinner during our course and we really try and get and obviously some people have got kids and they can’t come to the dinner and all of this, but really try and get people to come to that because, you know, the structured learning is one thing, but talking to each other, there’s so much more in that. And I’ve had people in that dinner say to me, Oh, I’m looking for a private job and I’ve introduced them to someone. And, you know, it’s important to understand that about about education in our setting in our world, that there’s a lot more to it than what the lecturers put on it. Of course, pay attention to the lecture.

[00:14:21] So that is also important. Yeah, of course. We can’t discuss.

[00:14:26] And then implement. Right. Implement. Tell me this dude, are you naturally sort of the confident kind of guy who you know, you go on a you mentioned Robbie Hughes before you go on an avant garde course. Do you then go and put that into practice straightaway so that you don’t forget and and, you know, what’s the difference? Why do you why are you that cat? And then why are there so many others who go on a course and don’t ever put it into practice?

[00:14:51] I think the most important thing about courses, especially when I first did my first few, I realised that if you don’t have one or two patient. Lined up for that treatment, then you’re going to forget exactly what you were meant to do. And then you don’t eventually you don’t have the confidence to do it and then you don’t do it anymore. So I think the key thing is and Invisalign do this, to be honest, I think this is why a designer being so successful because a line tells you to have three patients. Now, I think it’s five patients ready with a contract and you can’t go ahead with the course unless you’ve got them ready. And I think with me, especially, I did Robby’s six month mentorship course with Millard and that really helped because you get about six courses in one, but you get that mentorship. So I had a WhatsApp group between me, Robby and Millard, and I would send him complicated cases. They told me, Actually, Paul, do you know what? This to me is probably outside of where you’re at right now. You will get there one day, but maybe repair this on someone else. And then just having someone tell you that just makes you think, actually, now I know where my boundaries are. So I think that’s kind of the difference there. It comes down to connecting with the people that are teaching the course.

[00:16:01] Yeah, but still there’s an element of confidence in going ahead and implementing. Would you say you’re a competent person?

[00:16:08] I would say I’m always willing to take a calculated risk is the best way to describe it. So I will do the treatment as long as I know that all the other variables are controlled. Obviously the variable of pulling it off isn’t going to control, but as long as everything else. And what I mean by that is, is the patient’s expectations relatively low because it’s the first time you’re doing it. If their expectations are high and your skill set is quite low at this point, then you’ve got a bad combination there. But if your skill set is maybe medium low to medium, but the patient’s expectations are very low, then it’s okay because you know that they will give you time to learn that skill set through and we’ll be adaptable when things may not go as well as you’d hope. And but they’re not going to kick off if something goes wrong.

[00:16:55] Yeah, that’s a good point. Very good point. So then tell me about what you did next after VTE.

[00:17:02] So about six, I went straight into a part time private job and about five months later, so five months after I got the call from Nic and he offers me the job at square month. So I was very excited. I was definitely not ready if I’m being honest because five months after beat working at Square Marlborough, he said, Look, come down for two days a week, we’re going to mentor you to give you a simple case as best. And I thought, what better way to learn than to learn from them? So I actually left my jobs. But unfortunately, now you’re going to laugh at this. Unfortunately, I left my job in February 2020, and then we all know what happened in March 2020 COVID hit. So unfortunately, I had no job during lockdown because I couldn’t start in London and then anywhere where I tried to find another job or a locum. Nowhere was hiring because there was no point for them to, especially with the 20% contract, etc.. So at that point I thought to myself I had a lot of ideas, I learnt a lot in terms of the way I thought dentistry is going with aligners and orthodontics.

[00:18:08] So I did a lot of training in that regard, so that’s when I decided to buy my own practice. So during the first lockdown I actually went to go view the practice that I ended up buying. And I knew because it was COVID that I’d get a really good price. I got 35% off the asking price, and so I kickstarted that process off. But without having a job, I then was starting to money was coming up and money wasn’t coming in. So I ended up working as a test and trace for about four months am till 8 p.m. just to make sure that, you know, that is a steady stream of income. And then that practice I took over took about 13 months, 14 months to complete because no bank would ever I didn’t really trust someone that was only 6 to 7 months out of PhD with no assets or anything. But I managed to persuade a bank to do it and it was a high deposit, but then took over the practice, called to passion, renamed it to dental and kicked off.

[00:19:07] Where did you get the money from?

[00:19:09] Just the work. So test and trace and that six months of work because the practice is valued quite low so I only needed a relatively low deposit percentage was high, but it’s technically a relatively low deposit to surgery practice. So yeah, I managed to just when I took over I only had £150 left in the bank.

[00:19:29] And did you sort of strategically buy a place that was that you thought had potential and you were going to buy a cheap place that you were going to build? Or was it just the only one you could afford? Why didn’t you wait?

[00:19:43] So yeah, I think you said it right. What I thought was I just need a staple point. So I wanted to change everything within a practice. All I needed was the goodwill. So what I found was a practice that was very rundown. I mean. Now doing film X-rays, etc.? Well, no digital dentistry whatsoever. And but they had a very good work, good will. They had about eight or 9ka month of capitation income. So then plan income coming in. And I thought, well, here’s a practice where you have stable income that can pay the bills and then anything you add on top of that can allow me to grow. And I within a year introduced CBT implants and with all the endo kits have gone into dentist as well, Treo scanner orthodontics, computerised system. Eventually everything changed it all refurbished, it all made it look really modern. And we’ve only just finished the refurbishes.

[00:20:41] To the patients and the staff, not sort of run for the hills when they saw all these changes happening. Like, you know, I mean, traditionally people talk about evolution instead of revolution when you take over a practice. But there are other there are other models. You know, we’ve had Def Patel on here and his model is to smash the place down completely and start all over again. And, you know, he’s kind of a he almost believes in that as a way of a break with the past, did you get pushback from patients and staff when you started changing everything?

[00:21:12] Yeah, great question. So I think with both patients and staff, you have two categories of people. You have those that you know are very set in their ways. And it doesn’t really matter what age they are because some people say, oh, maybe they’ve been there for a lot of years, they’re not willing to adapt, but either you’re willing to adapt or you’re not willing to adapt. And those that were not willing to adapt to a happily let go mutually and because it wasn’t the right place for them anymore, I wasn’t going to let anyone impinge on my vision. I wasn’t going to let anyone hold back on what I thought the future of dentistry would look like. And I’d say the majority of staff said, and only about 2% of patients left, and that’s because they came from different places. I felt like we we offered an experience that was so when you come in, it’s all about the experience for me. So, you know, they’re greeted very nicely. Everything is digitised for them so they can fill in their medical history, etc. They come in as a TV on the ceiling and a lot of the patients, they were excited by this new technology. It was almost like they were waiting for this change to happen and they were also on that journey with me. So yeah, I didn’t get much pushback from that.

[00:22:18] I’m a little bit surprised by it. I mean, it’s I’ve heard I’ve heard stories of people mourning their previous existence, you know, like the staff particularly. I mean, are you good at persuading people? Did you did you sort of sit everyone down and say, this is my vision? And and how did you manage to not come across as sort of some upstart and.

[00:22:38] Yeah.

[00:22:39] You know what I mean? Are you are you naturally good at that?

[00:22:42] No, I, I wouldn’t say I’m not sure. Good at. I sat down and I explained I had to explain that what we did was we incorporated everyone. We said we incorporated everyone’s ideas and created one vision. So it was about making everyone feel valued. So, you know, if my my lead nurse made a suggestion, I suppose, you know what, let’s let’s set it up like this or can we design it like this? I would take that on board. And, you know, half the time I would implement it if I thought it was right. So I think making your staff feel very valued and also with patients, we were constantly asking, you know, what do you think of the changes? You know, well, what do you think of the new Chaz? Are you happy about this? And I think they felt valued as well because a lot of them have been there for over 30 years. So for them being a part of that, basically, including everyone in the process, makes them feel valued, which then allowed us to grow exponentially.

[00:23:36] Did you have what happened to the outgoing principal? Did he stay on a bit or so?

[00:23:41] He stayed on for three months as a transition. That was a bit difficult because we had we were on like we were poles apart at this point. But he was ready to retire 70 years old and he was ready to retire. And and luckily for me, you know, in my eyes, he was a great dentist. Great dentist, and he did really good work. So really, again, I feel really lucky to have taken over from someone like him because it can be it can go the other way. It can be a bit of a disaster class. So I think Fortune just gave me that.

[00:24:12] So what I think I think people underestimate the value of local knowledge. Yeah. You have, you know, you have these sort of stories of. Oh, yeah, I sat down, looked at where there were fewer fewest dentists and most patients or where there was the most need or which high street was best. And I strategically put my practice there and it sort of ignores local knowledge as far as, you know, the nuance in your you’re, you know, Leeds born and bred, right? You’ve been in leads from the year doc and you’ve got all this family all around leads and so forth. The nuance in you being able to take your staff with you and take your patients with you. An outsider might not have been able to carry that off. You know, it’s not as simple as find the right location and go for it, you know?

[00:24:59] I think being Leeds born and bred definitely really helps. I went to school in Leeds and you know, you can relate even even football. Everybody’s big Leeds United fans. So you can you can always find common ground with a lot of the patients know a lot of the patients live nearby me, golf, etc.. So I think having those common things with patients and that happens from local knowledge really, really helps. I think if someone to come in from a different city and go, okay, I’m going to make this work. It could have been a different story.

[00:25:29] So tell me about maybe big mistakes you made along the way.

[00:25:33] I would say I’m probably one of those that I made the most amount of mistakes, but I’ll always learn from them and I reflect on the biggest mistakes. Everyone’s going to make clinical mistakes here and there about how you what you do after that kind of is what counts. And I think my biggest mistake was basically thinking that it was quite easy to take over a practice during COVID and, you know, thinking the time frame of it will happen the way I thought it was going to happen. So when I was trying to take over, the process took so long. It was very mentally challenging, very, very mentally challenging. There were some really bad days in terms of what’s going to happen. Is it going to happen? Is it? There were points where the practice was never going to go through and I think I was quite cocky at the start where I thought, okay, this is easy. You look, you’ve got the deposit, there’s a lot more that goes into it. You know, hiring a dental orientated solicitor is definitely the key. I did not do that. I wish I had done that because that would have made the process a lot quicker, a lot easier for me, and probably would have saved me money in the long run. But I obviously won’t buy this kind of thing. That’s basically why. So I think if you’re going to take over the practice, you definitely need the right team around you to do it and don’t cheap out or don’t get someone that’s maybe less expensive but doesn’t have any dental experience because that’s going to go against you in the long run.

[00:27:01] Yeah, it’s similar to, you know, some people won’t use a broker to sell their practice because of the one or 2% the broker takes.

[00:27:10] Yeah.

[00:27:11] And you think if the broker can’t add one or 2% to the price you’re going to get, I mean, of course he’s going to. So it’s a good point. What about clinically? I mean, even your clinical. I’m not.

[00:27:23] A broker. It’s so important.

[00:27:25] Yeah. I don’t necessarily want you to tell me about. You’re too young to have made that many clinical mistakes. Yeah, but at the same time, your trajectory has been quite steep. So clinically, what were things that you wish you knew earlier or things you wish you hadn’t tried so soon? Or some give me some some, some, some insight clinically into going from zero to Invisalign. What are you, Diamond Apex boy. What, what, what were the what were the highlights?

[00:27:57] Yeah. Do you know what it is again? I think anyone can learn from their mistakes, but a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. So anything that I try, I always have quite a mentor that’s already on that level. So for example, restorative early I had Kish, Nick, and if there was ever a point where I had any doubt about how this case was going to end up, then I would ask them. I’d ask him or go, Look, what can go wrong here? What should I think about? And a lot of the time Nick stopped me from doing cases where he’s gone actually, mate, because Nick’s quite humble. He would go, Actually, I wouldn’t do this myself. I definitely wouldn’t recommend you to do it because of this. This could happen. So even with Invisalign Bhavin Bhatt, Sandeep as well. Kumar They’ve been mentors of mine and you know, Bhavin especially, he taught me what cases can I do, what cases can I not do? And those were I thought, kind of do this. You just mentor me through it. Same with Elaine. She helped me with that as well. So I think clinical mistakes, things could have gone better and I’ll always reflect on that. But having the mentor has really allowed me to negate or lessen them.

[00:29:08] I mean, how do you go about getting so many great mentors?

[00:29:12] Did you most of them happen on that same day in TUBULES conference day.

[00:29:16] What a great day.

[00:29:17] And then we just really connected. What was it? You know what? That’s probably when I look back, that’s probably my highlight day. That’s better than a birthday. So I think just also if they took, for example, Jen and Kash, I remember the first time they ever gave me an opportunity. I said, Look, we’re doing the I think it was a BDA conference and they’re lecturing and they said, Look, Paul, come down, come me to the hotel. We want to talk about something with you. And I just went down I just went down to Birmingham all the way from Leeds. I just chatted with him for half an hour and that was it. But I think when you show a mentor that you’re willing to put in that effort, they will put the effort back into you. So even now, fast forward three years with Jen and Kash. We’re looking to buy a practice together, I hope, with that Dental Academy in Manchester. So we set that up up north where we’re running quite a few courses there for dentists and therapists. I lecture on a few of their courses as well. So if I hadn’t put in that initial effort, even though I had pretty much nothing to gain from it, monetary or anything, then they may not have put as much effort into me.

[00:30:23] Yeah. I mean. But still, there’s a talent in looking for mentors and accepting mentors. It sounds like you’ve got so many there, so many good people that to go to, and I find often this very easy advice to give. It’s like, you know, get yourself a mentor. But, you know, I was I was quite a shy sort of associate type here. I wasn’t the type to go up to someone and say, Hey, you help me with something unless, you know, something happened. So to, you know, it’s not as simple as go get a mentor, is it? You know, it’s it’s a skill in itself.

[00:30:59] Is just good. But you’ve got to also put yourself in that situation. If you don’t go to the course, if you don’t go to the conference or then you’re never going to put yourself in that situation to find a mentor. So I think the key thing there is keep going, keep connecting, and eventually you’ll form a connection with someone where you know, it can it can hopefully turn into that sort of role. Yeah, certainly. And also even on the flip side, you know, I’ve been given a lot. I also try and mentor people that are younger than me as well, you know, through the courses and those are newly graduating because I think whatever you receive, you should give back as well.

[00:31:34] Certainly. Let’s get in on the leads, dude. How come? How come Leeds has got so many new practices opening?

[00:31:41] Which was crazy. It was crazy, but it’s not. Over the last two years there’s been a lot of private squats opening in Leeds and they’re all doing extremely well I think. I think with Leeds there’s been a huge shift, whether it’s local or I don’t know if it’s happening nationwide, but huge shift from NHS to private industry and I don’t know what it is but there’s a lot, it’s quite something in the water.

[00:32:07] Like, yeah, you’re right, private squat, super branded, beautiful places.

[00:32:11] All happening to me. Well, I would say it’s the capital of the north. It’s like London, but without the hassles of London.

[00:32:22] You know what? I’ve spent some time in Leeds and you know, what I like most about it is the people. People are like, straight up on the easy to talk to. But you guys, you guys have a lot of fun. I’ve noticed up there. There’s, it’s, it’s like it’s different to Manchester. It’s got a different kind of vibe to Manchester. But of course you’re biased.

[00:32:43] Yeah, it’s it’s funny, you know, we do the academy in Manchester. I think people people are very, very friendly in Leeds. And there is, it’s like work hard, play a hard mentality. But I also think maybe as opposed to Manchester or maybe because I’m not from Manchester, I don’t know. There’s a really strong Leeds Dental community where a lot of even the most renowned dentists within Leeds will come to the meetings, they’ll lecture. So like I find my team, they all lecture regularly to all the dentists within Leeds is this kind of really big community feel and I think that also contributes towards everything. Whereas I don’t know well being in London, I didn’t really feel that. I’ve not heard of that in Manchester. So I think that could be the difference there.

[00:33:26] Yeah. So, so okay. Let’s talk about the marketing journey because your practice, we were talking off mic, your practice has grown exponentially since you bought it, you know, a year ago. Sounds ridiculous. A year ago. Just, just run, run, run those numbers by buy by the audience quickly.

[00:33:48] Yeah. So I can be open, honest. So I bought it for 175 and now I just got it recently valued for literally just under a million. And that was after a year. And the biggest reason for that was marketing. And that’s why I kind of started my own marketing company with my brother. We both actually got covered at the same time and Christmas and we were just chatting and I just said to because I did loads of insider like alchemy, I did myself, I did everything and I just, I said to my brother, I think I know how to do this now, can you help me do the tech side of things and can you help me manage the ads, etc.? So he did it for me. And then all of a sudden we got a message from a local practice manager who got Paul, who’s doing your opening. And all I said was, my brother goes, Oh, what company is it? And so I said to my brother. Then I said, Well, here’s a great idea. Why don’t if we can do it for me, then why can’t we do it for other people? If we can help them grow, then there’s nothing better than that. So we create expert media tech where we design websites. So the main thing is like open days, which is. Invisalign open days. And in the space of seven months we’ve gone, we’ve got about 20 clients now continuously up and down the country. We do it for the small clinical group as well. They trust us with their marketing and yeah, we’re just flying with it really. But I think the best, the best part about it is when we do it for a squat practice. So we’ve done it for about three squat practices and then them telling us, Paul, we were a bit worried here. We’re not being able to fill our diaries as, as we would have hoped, then being able to run their ads or do their marketing for them and kind of get them to where their expectation was and really seeing them grow as well and becoming stabilised is really satisfying.

[00:35:44] So what I’d really like to do here is to get you seem to have sort of super specialised into this idea of Invisalign Open Day, right? I’d like to break it down to what’s Paul’s sort of cornerstones for a successful Invisalign open day, super successful one. And I probably want to probably you’re better at this than me. But, you know, there’s the let’s face it, there’s all the work you do before the open day. There’s the day itself. And then there is all the work you do afterwards. Right. Let’s break it down like that.

[00:36:21] Let’s break it down. All right, cool. Let’s break it down. Let’s get into story beginning, middle, end. So we’ll start with the beginning. First thing is the practice has to be aware that they have to be all in. If you cut it halfway, you’re not going to see the benefits and you’re only going to see the expensive side. So the key.

[00:36:39] Thing being set wise.

[00:36:40] Why? Because it accumulates. So when if, for example, you only do one open day, then you would not get the result of four open days within a five or six month period. So it’s the fact that you have to trust the process and trust what we’re doing. And kind of what makes us unique is that so many marketing companies or even dental agencies, they outsource it to marketing companies now where we ourselves are the marketing company with a dentist involved. So what we do is we don’t only just do, okay, here’s the ads, here’s the data, here’s the leads, you do it yourself. We do the whole process for you. So we start off with running the ads and we get the right people to help us within the practice. So we need a treatment coordinator, we need a practice manager and we need the treating dentist. What the TKO will do is we’ll provide the leads. Now, whether you have a TKO or not TKO job is to convert and get a deposit from that lead. So let’s say we expect about a 760 to 70% conversion rate. If you don’t have a TKO, you use X TKO and we do it for you, obviously for an increased fee.

[00:37:49] Once we’ve done that and we manage the list, what we do is we make the day special because nowadays Invisalign is almost we call it Invisalign, it’s not even a clear aligner treatment, but patients know it as Invisalign and they’re shopping around, you know, they’re looking at about five or six practices. You’ve got to make yourself special, so you’ve got to wow them on the day. You’ve got to give them the best treatment plan that’s suited to their needs. So you’ve got to really listen to them. And what a lot of mistakes that I believe practices make is that they think the clearer line of treatment is the only treatment that should be given to that patient. That patient will have pre orthodontic restorative treatment, orthodontic orthodontic treatment and post orthodontic restorative treatment. So you’re looking at don’t think of it as only, I don’t know a23k treatment plan and spending increases heavily because a lot of things when that patient comes in they’re looking for the whole works. Once the physio has got everyone in, we send videos beforehand to patients getting them excited for the open day. You know, it’s a celebration when they come in on the day.

[00:38:56] The practice manager with us organised little gifts, decorations, all sorts to kind of make the day special. And then on the day itself, you’ve got a while, you’ve got to give them experience that they’ve never had a dental practice before. So you’ve got to be digitally scanning, you’ve got to talk them through what no one would have mentioned, to talk them through their occlusion as we talked about that pre treatment, that post treatment, tell them why certain options are more suitable to them than other options. Really why them on the day and then what after the day is all about the aftercare as well, because some of them might not necessarily sign up on the day. So you want to be able to do follow up messages from from your team. And then when you get them in, you start it off. Once you’ve done that, that patient base will then refer. So you may need this initial marketing, this adds, but then when they start referring, you may not even need it then, or you may want to do both. And that’s how you grow exponentially, in my opinion, right now, while Invisalign is a gateway to. Treatment.

[00:39:59] So break it down. Break down some numbers for me. You mentioned the 67% conversion. Is that from from lead to appointment someone is going to turn up, is that what you mean?

[00:40:08] Yeah. So I would say leads to appointment. I would say it’s about 60%. Yeah. That’s deposit included. And then from that I would say at least half will convert. So let’s just give you an example. One open day 12 patients, the Invisalign average price is three K, take the label off, let’s say average price is one K, that’s 24 K for one day organised. Now a majority of the time you double or triple that because they’re going to need other things. And then if you, if you can get them on a plan scheme like a Dem plan or a practice plan afterwards and then locked into the practice, that’s also going to boost. So I think from one day you could easily get £50,000 from an open day eventually.

[00:40:53] Yeah. Let’s go into nuances of it. Right. So how important is the offer? Do you talk about the offer from from the ad stage? Is price a key point or do you does it depend on the particular practice? And you sort of have to think about this practice going for quality, that practice going for price or what?

[00:41:13] Yeah, you have to adapt it for every practice. Now the same is pretty much everyone does the same offer. You know, everyone’s I have pre widening pre retainers. What makes you different is kind of researching the local area, what the patients want. And I learned this from my smile’s quicker, better, cheaper. That’s what they want. That’s all the patient wants for Invisalign especially. But if you want to go for kind of quality, then what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to show that quality. So your practice should have a lot of high tech equipment, should be quite luxurious. Then people buy into that. But if your practice maybe doesn’t look like that or doesn’t give that feel and you put your price as high, then it’s going to be very difficult to kind of pull off. So it’s about going with the practice environment and the local environment will set the price.

[00:41:59] What about things like copy? Is that important? Like how are their key sort of statements use? Did you know types that would let me know? What kind of things do you say?

[00:42:10] The words are very important. The words are very important because that’s the first thing they’re going to see. But what all of these are with you, I mean, all the patient wants is that they’re getting a good deal. Everyone loves a good deal, even though technically you are probably because at the end of the day, you’re probably going to give retainers, you’re probably going to give the whitening included in the package. You will probably going to do the scan for free. But if you can show the patients that actually this is what we’re doing, then they’ll also think, Oh, I’m getting a good deal here. So if you package it up, well then patients really appreciate that. If you’re just going, okay, we do Invisalign, then there’s absolutely zero incentive. And you’ve also got to add you’ve got to add a reason why in your ad you have to have a reason why. So we’re celebrating our one year anniversary or we’re celebrating the refurbishment. Then patients can get feel like they’re getting involved within that celebration that are they’re doing it for this reason. It may not happen again.

[00:43:03] Yeah. Okay. What about the actual the the the picture or video of the ad? Have you found one? Some things work better than others.

[00:43:12] Yeah. Without giving too many golden nuggets away, what I would say is having a picture of a patient with a treating dentist really helps. Having a picture of the practice and having the picture of the practice with nearby common things. So I don’t know if there’s a really statement shop next door, put that in or saying, Oh, we’re right next to X, Y and Z, that that really helps. That really gets a lot of engagement.

[00:43:40] So you don’t you definitely don’t recommend like a stock photo of something.

[00:43:45] That’s not really definitely not. Absolutely not. It never works anywhere near as well. I mean, let’s say I don’t know you’re going to go for, I don’t know, some skin treatment. Right. And when you’re looking and you know what treatment you want and you’re looking at these different ads, if you’re looking at a stock photo that gives me nothing now, I don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t I don’t trust this thing. But I’m looking at a patient that’s happy with the treating clinician. I know that I’m going to be in that position. With that treating clinician. It’s not almost bills. That element of rapport and trust before you’ve even started.

[00:44:21] It’s interesting, man, because I don’t know. I haven’t been a dentist now for ten, 12 years or something. Yeah, but I remember back then I definitely wasn’t looking for okay, for want of a better word, bargain hunters, you know.

[00:44:38] So it’s changed. Yeah, well, I didn’t.

[00:44:42] I wasn’t interested in having bargain hunters as my patient. Now, maybe. Maybe I was wrong to do that. Right. But there is I think the space there is space for for, you know, of course, no one wants to feel like they’re being done over. Right. But the space for the creative. Having something other than you’re going to get a great deal. Of course you’re right. Beautiful practices and all of that. But I remember perhaps I did one. It was like it was like it was like cheap invisalign. You were in the wrong place. Was the was in the ad. Yeah. And and that’s that’s what that’s what they were pushing that that particular practice was saying with the most expensive Invisalign in town. Yeah. And, and you know that was their angle. It’s an interesting way that the market’s turning though, and I think recession coming on as well is going to affect all this. Have you thought about this question? Recession?

[00:45:37] Yeah, I. I’ve thought about it a lot. I think there’s been an Invisalign boom ever since COVID. You know, people over Zoom, they’re looking at their teeth. And I believe that Invisalign has gone from a high value treatment or clear aligners going from a high value treatment to a or most people are shopping around for it. So I think five, six years ago it would be quite a high value. You know, only few people would get it within the local community, but now it’s become very mainstream and that’s why the price has come down as well, because, you know, simple economics, even though the demand is high, but a lot of people provide Invisalign now, so there’s a huge supply of it. That’s why I believe the price has come down in terms of what’s going to happen with the recession that’s going to that’s going to have a very soon, I believe that people will still spend money on their teeth. There will be a bit more careful where they go. I think word of mouth is going to be it’s always going to be a big trigger, but ads will work less. But that’s where dentistry will always be needed. So that’s where SEO and other things are going to be really important for practices. You know, they’re going to be Googling with emergencies and we do emergency ads, for example. So it’s about adapting to the way the time is. So if during a recession, for whatever reason, the clear line of treatment just starts to decline, something else will start to come up in its place. Everything before clearing line as it was been, is that it’s clear. Line is something else will come in its place. It’s about jumping on the trend before it becomes a trend.

[00:47:10] Yeah, I think dentistry generally does quite okay during a recession and you know, I’ve been through a few recessions, so I can tell you it’s not the end of the world. It certainly feels like the end of the world for a little bit there. But I think one thing to sort of be wary of and not only for what you’re doing, but there’s going to be a bunch of dentists who, you know, credit is a big part of their sort of, you know, I don’t know. You must have the numbers on this, right? There must be some practices where way more than half their income comes from credit. And if credit dries up, what happens next? And we went through this enlightened for a while when we were having dentists were buying Enlightened on credit. And I remember thinking, what if credit dries up? Well, how is this going to work? And at one point at one point, we actually implemented it ourselves, right? We said, okay, we’re going to have this group of people we’re not going to even offer credit to, and we’re going to have them do a part payment type thing themselves without a third party. And then it happened. It happened credit. We couldn’t get credit to buy it anymore. And thank goodness we’d put that in place, you know, that it was it’s a worry. The market, I think, you know, people talk about, oh, yeah, implants won’t be affected, composite will or it’s impossible to know for sure what’s going to be affected. Yeah, although you’re a bit too young to have lived through the 2008. Well, you know, as being in business during the 2008 recession, it is shocking when it actually happens. Right now we’re in this sort of we’re sort of summer holiday feeling. You know, everyone’s enjoying the last few last few of us. But but when it happens and it’ll be over something totally like they’ll say, oh, yeah, some, some some students in America can’t repay their student loans anymore. And that’s the whole global system collapsed.

[00:49:00] Yes, I can see that happening.

[00:49:02] You know, you wouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t matter what they tell you. Yeah, they’ll tell you. There’s been a war. The Chinese attacked Taiwan. That’s why the whole global economy, any of these stories will be plausible, right? Because we all know it’s kind of a house of cards anyway. We’re all waiting for it to fall down.

[00:49:19] It’s going to fall. And it’s about kind of maybe putting measures in place to to help that fall not affect you as much. So I think my advice to practices and one thing that we really implemented is if you’re getting patients who are new patients, get them onto a capitation scheme. And that’s what really helped people private practices, especially during the lockdown period within COVID. So get them onto a plan scheme, get them onto a practice plan scheme. I believe that’s going to be the key over the next few months. If you’ve got a good amount of income coming from that, I think you’ll be safe and stable.

[00:49:52] So poor you didn’t really have much NHS experience at all, did you?

[00:49:57] I had about I. I did part time. Nhs and I also look on the NHS. For me, my, my biggest issue was like I was learning from Nic and Sanjay Sethi and you know, take your time with everything, make sure you follow all the steps correctly. There’s absolutely no shortcuts that can be taken from you. The NHS is that you see 30, 40 patients a day and I couldn’t give that time and that quality that I wanted to give to those patients. And that became very frustrating and very dissatisfying to me. So almost not wanting me to I didn’t want to do that type of dentistry. It wasn’t making me happy at all. I felt a bit lost when I was doing that. So for me it was a no brainer to try and do everything I could to make the switch and do the type of dentistry that I know I enjoy. I’d rather see six, seven, ten patients in one day spend a little bit more time with them, get to know them. Because in NHS, I mean it’s a wonderful system, but time is not on your.

[00:50:54] Side, but it’s not a wonderful system. I mean, let’s listen.

[00:50:58] Let’s be very politically correct.

[00:51:00] Let’s not try to sugarcoat. Here is not one. I feel I feel the same as you. Yeah, I felt the same as you. I got out of the NHS as quick as I could. I didn’t want to be an NHS dentist. I didn’t. I didn’t want to be that. I didn’t want that career at all. But but what’s your advice?

[00:51:18] Do you know what the Payman what’s interesting is that I know dentists that are fantastic at doing that, you know, they love seeing, you know, 30 patients a day and they can they can do it very well. And that’s what kind of makes them happy. So I think to any dentists, you just got to ask yourself, how do you like to work? What do you want to gain out of your career? And that will answer which side to go on for you. But I think more and more as time is going on, people are definitely heading towards more private than NHS.

[00:51:47] So what’s your advice? I mean if if I’m on the wrong side of that equation right now, if you’re a young NHS associate and I agree with you and I want to go more private, but I’m not an expert on Invisalign, I’m not an expert on Invisalign open days. It scares me when someone says they want to be. I have heard that someone say to me, Look, when someone says they want to be a private patient, I’m too scared to treat them. What’s your advice? What’s your general advice? Go on. Cause it’s gone. What else?

[00:52:20] Yeah. So the best advice I can give is you just got to take the plunge. That first private patient that you’re scared of will be very scary. I remember my first private patient like it was yesterday. It was a very scary experience. I made a denture for them. It was okay. But, you know, it’s just about you will grow into the role the more you do it. If you don’t take that plunge, then you’ll never be ready for that step. So I know some people that are, for example, 36, 37 and they still say those things where, you know, I don’t think I’m ready yet or, you know, I’m not sure whether I can take that first step. So I don’t think age is of a concern. If you feel like you’ve got a base good clinical knowledge going, that’s what I mean by go on the courses, get a mentor then and you’re afraid to take that step. It just means that sometimes you’re heading in the right direction to just take it and see what happens.

[00:53:13] Yeah. And also bear in mind that you weren’t trained to be an NHS dentist. You were trained to be a dentist. You know, that’s to me, sometimes it makes sense to go back to our training, doesn’t it? I tell you, would train to be a dentist. It happens that you’re working in this system now, and so much of it is about the soft skills in private. Did you.

[00:53:35] Communication?

[00:53:36] Did you actively go out and learn communication or were you always naturally good at it? I suppose it’s an actor type.

[00:53:43] Yeah. So I believe I was good at communication. I probably not in dental terms, so definitely one on courses for that actually latter for one Ali from the small dental academy as well was a big help. And what they make you understand is that, you know, people can be categorised into different personalities into the way the way they think as well and the way they process information is different. So if you can get on their wavelength, then you can almost build better rapport and better trust with that patient and therefore have better communication with them. Because I always say, you know, no one’s ever going to sue someone that they like so you can get the patient on board and comfortable, then you should be okay from there in terms of communication.

[00:54:27] How much does it weigh on you that a patient might sue you? Because I know the younger generation very, very anxious about this these days.

[00:54:38] It’s a great question. I think the fear of that litigation is probably the biggest worry that young or newly graduated even that I think I think overall throughout the profession, actually, it’s probably the biggest fear. Fear of litigation. But the way I think about it is if you have good intentions for that case, that patient, then it doesn’t matter what happens with the outcome. You still had a good intention about it. What I mean by that is let’s say there’s a tooth and, you know, carries very, very close to the nerve. You’ve explained to the patient that it might be a root canal, money taking out. There’s a risk of this. You’ve explained all the risks. And but what I want to do is I want to try and see if I can do this without heading into a root canal. That, to me is a good intention, because if you can do that, then you’re elongating the longevity of that, too. So and if, for example, you do that and three weeks later the patient comes back, severe pain, you know, it’s your fault, then it wouldn’t matter to me what happens from there. So if the patient decides to sue me or whatever, I know I’ve good intention that I was trying to do my best for that patient so I can hold my head up high. That’s the way I think of it, and that’s the way I try to do all my dentistry.

[00:55:51] It’s a really good way of looking at it. But have you ever had a complaint like a legal complaint?

[00:55:57] Touchwood So far I haven’t. But I also think that comes down to if someone’s not happy to deal with it straight away. I think a lot of the reason why people are unhappy is because they’ve not got what they expected to get. So what I would say in that regard is try and set expectations straight away. And worst case scenario, if that’s not the case and they’re still kicking off, they’ll want something. You know, they they want something for what’s happen. Just really understand what they want. If you leave it or you let it fester, or if you go try and go to formal, even then, I think that’s when patients get annoyed and they want to take it further. Don’t anger the patient even more. Just really listen to what they’re saying. Don’t ignore it. Don’t think I did the right thing. You know, I was all like the patients making this up in the head. You know, it might not even be your fault, but just listen to what the patient’s saying and really adhere to that. All patients want to know is that they’ve been listened to and that they’ve got some sort of good outcome from it and touchwood hopefully nothing can escalate from there, but it is. At least you tried your best.

[00:57:05] Yes. Good way of looking at me. What tends to happen is if something does happen, people take it quite personally and and you mustn’t do that that that is the error, taking it personally. And it’s difficult, too, because we’re always, like you said, your intentions are good. You’re trying your best for people. Often the people who do end up causing these problems for you, the ones you tried the hardest for, and weirdly so.

[00:57:30] It does.

[00:57:33] Questioning everything.

[00:57:35] Yeah, yeah.

[00:57:37] Tell me about stuff on this journey where you’re, you know, your staff must be watching you grow this business. Huge. So do you incentivise them today? How do they feel like they’re coming along on that journey with you? Did you manage career progression already in this short time for your staff?

[00:57:57] Yeah. So what we so we basically when I first took over we had a it was the Fiona principal, lead nurse and receptionist. Yeah. Now we have 11 staff members and everyone is on the right seat on the bus if that makes sense. So the bus flows well, drives well because everyone where utilising their major skill sets into that position. So we create a new position such as new patient coordinator, slash receptionist. So what I need for someone for that is someone that’s very good at sales, you know, knows their dental treatment inside and out. And then we have a patient care coordinator who’s very empathetic, you know, willing to offer that sort of 24/7 service. So I think putting people in their best positions allows them to feel a little bit more comfortable and allows them to grow even more. What’s good is I’m always explaining the vision, so we’re taking over a second practice, five surgery, one, which should happen at the end of this year, and we’re getting them involved in that. I’m saying, look, we’ve been through all of this development. What I want you to do, if you can, is let’s train up the next practice. You know, I want you to be involved in that.

[00:59:08] Don’t. What my philosophy was is that we’re always going to grow together and that, you know, it’s a we it’s never a this is me, this is I, it’s we’re all growing together. And I think that’s what’s really helped build this kind of good morale. We don’t have any drama. Well, very little drama. And everyone just gets on well. And also parties. Parties is key. And I said we we hit 55 Google reviews. Let’s celebrate. Let’s go for a dinner. Let’s do Christmas party. If we hit X amount of target, then we will do this. So that also incentivises them. And I also have bonuses for new patient conversion for my NPC, those little things, it depends what kind of drives that certain staff member. So if a staff member is driven by monetary value, then give them a monetary bonus body. But if a staff member is driven by, you know, other things like reaction or they want a tree or they want maybe an extra day off, sometimes I do that. If we’ve done really well, you can have an extra day. And if they appreciate that more than that. So they’ll be giving you work hard, you get the reward.

[01:00:14] All of this seems to come very naturally to you, but. You know, you seem to have a wise head on your young shoulders. Do you have a lot of business in the in the family? You know, you’ve seen examples or what has this happen?

[01:00:29] Oh, yeah. Yeah, I do. There’s a lot a lot of my family, especially my dad, you know, he’s owned a textiles company. So there’s a you know, a lot of my family are kind of within the business sector. So my dad owns a business sister, sister and brother and a lot of cousins, I think as well. In terms of business, I’d say Gin and cash really, really helped me in order to how to grow and what to build as a team. They taught me a lot, especially when it comes to financial accounting, what works, what doesn’t work. So it’s just about not being afraid to ask those people that have done it.

[01:01:03] Turkish helped you with the finance side.

[01:01:06] Yeah, definitely help me with the finance side. Call me up sometimes in the middle of the night, you know, and we’d have a chat about it. And we’re just talk through some practice accounts and watch out for this. You know, this has happened to us before. What’s up with this? It’s invaluable and you gain nothing from that. So he did that because we’re good friends now.

[01:01:25] So yeah, but both those guys are particularly cash. You know, you can if you don’t know them, you can think they are. They’re just like sort of fun party people and like, you know, like going out. But when you meet them, you realise that there’s a lot more to them than that.

[01:01:42] They have a wonderful balance.

[01:01:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s your plan for the group? I mean, for a group is to practice, but. But what would you like? What would be your sort of ideal situation five years time?

[01:01:57] Yeah, for me, I want to be able to be in a position where I think way my group is, it’s a little bit reliant on myself. So I think the veto group will only ever be two or three or three or four practices. What I’m looking for is now like JV as well. So I think joint venture partnerships is going to be the the next stage within that’s already happening actually. You’ve got models like you mentioned before, Deb’s model. So I think the JVP and other models where, you know, it can function by itself without me being there, but it has my stamp on it. I think that’ll allow me to keep the balance right without growing too much with something that’s too reliant on myself.

[01:02:40] Yeah. So, so then of the things that you do, you’re doing a bunch of clinical stuff, you’re doing a bunch of teaching, a bunch of marketing. I don’t know if you’re dancing anymore which, which, which is a bit, that’s really got your passion. Which, which bit really, you know, what really turns you on.

[01:03:01] And that’s what really turns me on. It’s a great question. I think it already does. But what really does is the Academy. So being part of the small dental academy, can you watch these dentists that come in at the start and you watch how they grow? And what’s nice is they will talk about the issues that they’re having and then they realise that actually, you know, you’re not the only person having these issues. Pretty much 90% of the dentists, they’re having some sort of similar issues. So to be able to kind of talk to them and even I learned so much from other dentists just being there as well. So I think that’s what really gets me going and it also allows me to grow a lot. So not only are they growing, but I’m also growing. So I think the clinical side is fantastic and I love seeing patients and I love being able to perform treatments that are life changing. But seeing how a dentist grows is also very, very satisfying.

[01:03:59] Something you said in passing before you said, Yeah, I met Nick Sethi at this conference and then a few months later he called me up and said, Do I want a job? Yeah. What happened in between those two?

[01:04:11] That’s what happened was I wish I was so busy. He was running a course, a composite course, and we hit it off. And I was just telling him, you know, I’m in this struggle when I was in the composite, a sensitivity graduate. Do you know what? Come down on the course and we’ll sort out because you’re an M.D. and, you know, come, come learn. So we did that and I had a great time. I learned so much, an incredible amount. And I said, here’s my number. If you have any cases that you’re not sure about, just WhatsApp me and I’m happy to help you at any point. And so, so I sent him a few cases, obviously a patient permission and it gave me some good advice. And I was also sending him my work where he would then critique it. Sometimes I thought maybe a bit unfair. I think it was very good, constructive criticism. Very, very good, constructive. I allowed me to go, but there came a point where there was a position available and luckily I was the first person that I thought of. And even though it was all the way in London and I work there, so I work in London Thursday and Friday and. In these Monday to Wednesday. I’ve been doing that for about two years now. Go down, up and down. I just thought, you know, taking the phrase, you move for the right job a bit too literally. But it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.

[01:05:31] So what’s your arrangements? You stay one night in London.

[01:05:34] So I stay two nights in London Wednesday and Thursday night just at a hotel nearby. And then I come back on the Friday or there’s sometimes something going on on the Friday night, Saturday within in London in terms of the academies, etc.. And I just try and help out as much as I can.

[01:05:50] That’s a busy life, right, with your own practice as well.

[01:05:54] It’s a very busy.

[01:05:55] Busy, busy life going up and down the country every single week. But, you know, you’re right. You’re right. You’re right about the opportunity to work with those guys because, you know, that’s not that’s not something that’s going to come around very often with either of those guys, whether we’re talking gin and cash or with the settees, how do you omit, you know, him from the from the practice?

[01:06:16] I know. I know. I’m a three square man. So he works. He’s he’s one of the owners at Partners of Square Mile as well so as me next and Alain and recently and and then recently joined them and Keith.

[01:06:30] All right, man. Let’s let’s let’s let’s wrap it up. You said you were a listener to the podcast, so you should know these last two questions. I’ll start with mine. Perhaps on holiday, I’ll start with mine. Fancy dinner party. Cool. Three guests. Dead or alive. You going to pick?

[01:06:52] Great question. Well, I’m a big football fan, a big Liverpool fan. So I’ve got to say Steven Gerrard is the first one. Got to say it.

[01:06:59] Not least.

[01:07:00] Second. Now, I’m not at Leeds. I’m a big Liverpool fan. Actually, I should. Sometimes I pretend to be at least fan in clinic, but now in terms of maybe this passed away, Mahatma Gandhi would be very interesting to listen to and his values. A third one, this one I’ve been thinking about a lot. I would say someone that was really, well, highly respected within dentistry and recently passed a new money. I would love to work into it because he definitely created a legacy.

[01:07:33] Yeah, certainly did. Had a lot. Had you never met him?

[01:07:40] I never met him, no. I never had the pleasure. But I heard really, really great things about him.

[01:07:45] So not a good guy. And perhaps final question. It’s a bit weird. Deathbed someone. What are you, 28 on your deathbed. Nearest and dearest. Around you. Three pieces of advice. For them, for the world.

[01:08:08] The first one would be life as a balance. So try to not prioritise even even your career or anything. Just make sure you’re really enjoying each moment. If you try and prioritise a goal in on one thing, you’ll find that you may lack it a lot later. So it always try and find a balance. You know, take that holiday, take those time off work patient. Your patients will still be there, so don’t worry about that. Secondly, I would say is just really cherish those highlight moments that you have, especially within dentistry. You know, capture that reaction or video of where, you know, you change someone’s life or capture those moments that you’re having a highlight within dentistry. And then the final one is, yeah, just work hard, play hard. So again, just don’t forget to, to enjoy a life in the process.

[01:09:04] I feel like that’s only two and a half. I think the.

[01:09:10] Last piece of advice I would give is, okay, I’ve got one. Never do something that you wouldn’t do for yourself. So if you’re looking at other dancers or you if you’re looking at patient care and you think, Oh, okay, I’ve recently gone on a course, let’s do this, let’s do this for this patient. But you don’t feel like you would have that treatment yourself. Then don’t do it because you will always morally, consciously not feel right about it.

[01:09:40] That’s a very good one. That’s a very good one. Brilliant man. Lovely to have had you on. And super impressive. Super impressive. If someone wants to get in touch with you, I guess it’s on the usual channels. Paul Miller and it’s expert media tech if they’re interested in in the marketing.

[01:10:01] Yeah, yeah, definitely. Either they can message Dr. Paul Miller, video group expert, media tech. And I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.

[01:10:12] Amazing, buddy. Thanks a lot for doing this.

[01:10:14] Pleasure. Pleasure. Thank you for having me.

[01:10:18] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:10:34] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:10:48] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:10:59] And don’t forget our six star rating.


If you’ve ever feared a call from the GDC or falling foul of today’s increasingly litigious working environment, this episode is for you.

Payman sits down for a chat with medical and dental indemnity expert Gary Monaghan about the challenges of covering the profession.

Gary talks about his early experience in plastic surgery and the parallels with dentistry. He reveals how his indemnity service PDI assesses risk, discusses defensive dentistry and describes what happens when the GDC calls.



02.45 – Backstory

06.40 – The surgical landscape

09.01 – The mutual model

12.34 – Dental Vs surgical indemnity

25.19 – Risk profiles and management

35.20 – A shoulder to cry on

41.55 – Call records

44.28 – Assessing risk and underwriting

48.18 – Iron-manning mutuals

53.30 – On fear

55.40 – The economic climate

57.31 – The future of PDI

59.48 – Educating clients

01.02.15 – Refusing cover and defensive dentistry

01.07.44 – Fantasy dinner party

01.10.41 – Last days and legacy


About Gary Monaghan

Gary Monaghan has been at the helm of several insured indemnity providers in the medical field. He is the co-founder of Professional Dental Indemnity ( PDI), specialising in cover for dental professionals. Gary has provided cover for thousands of clinicians over a career spanning more than two decades and is widely considered an innovator in the field.

[00:00:00] My opinion is when you get that letter from the GDC, if you want a dentist, you’ll ring a mate. If you want.

[00:00:06] Someone who knows what he’s talking about, though.

[00:00:09] Hopefully. Yeah, but how do you know? A dentist on the other end of the phone knows what they’re talking about. Because let’s be honest, it’s not going to be if you get a dentist at the other end of the phone, that will not be the person that sits with you in the case. The person that sits with you in the GDC case will be a lawyer. So what we prefer as a company, we prefer that very, very experienced and qualified lawyers take that first call because we want these cases addressed very quickly. We want them squashed very quickly if they can be. And the best way to do that is with the most experienced person you can possibly find. Now, if the dentist is speaking to a lawyer and thinks this guy or this girl doesn’t know what I’m talking about, of course they can talk to a dentist. But you know what? In five years it’s never happened. And in all my years with surgeons, it never happened. So I honestly believe that it’s of course, I got asked this last Tuesday how many dentists have on your helpline? And I said, No, they’re all lawyers. They’re all lawyers because that’s what you want. Oh, what if I need a dentist? Or if you need a dentist, you can have a dentist. But they’re not on the helpline. The lawyers are on the helpline because they’re the people that you need for a legal case or a legal a legal query. Now, even if it’s just I’ve got this patient a little bit annoyed, how do I draft a letter? You still need the lawyer to do that. Now, I’m not saying there’s not dentists perfectly capable of doing that. Of course there is. But we honestly believe that a highly experienced lawyer at the very first step is the way to go.

[00:01:36] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:54] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Garry Moynihan onto the podcast. Garry’s an insurance professional, not a dentist, but very involved now with dentistry. He’s founding partner at PDI Professional Dental Indemnity with Neil Bracewell, who is also a friend of the podcast. One of our earliest episodes was with Neil relatively recently in the last five years. Garry’s gotten involved in dentistry, and I’m going to try and unpack, obviously how his story and all of that, but also we want to try and get to the bottom of indemnity regulation litigation, you know, from from the professionals perspective. Where are we at and where are we going? Massive pleasure to have you on the show, Garry.

[00:02:43] Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

[00:02:45] Garry, tell me, how did you get to this position? Which how did you get into indemnity in the first place? Where did you grow up and how did you manage to get into this field?

[00:02:55] I think my my background is is probably easy to explain as a background in plastic surgery. I’ve been involved in plastic surgery for about 23 years now in various incarnations. I worked for a breast implant manufacturer for nine years and it was really that a chance meeting really. While I was working for the breast implant manufacturer that got me into indemnity, we realised through a chance conversation with someone that approached us that there was a gap in the market if you wish for an assured product. Having only had three options with the defence organisations for many, many, many years, so I was sort of enticed away from my position at the at the implant company to set up an indemnity company that was called premium medical protection. Now that was a very, very tough thing to do because I was in a very stable job, but I felt that the opportunity was enormous and I felt that the need was absolutely essential as well. We took counsel from some very, very high ranking plastic surgeons at the time. A lot of the input was given by the then president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, who gave us the data that we needed to go to an insurer. The insurer was happy to underwrite the scheme. It was a Lloyd’s of London insurer, which which gave everyone a lot of confidence in the product and so on.

[00:04:15] And we launched to plastic surgeons. That was very late, 2009. Now, what we couldn’t have foreseen is how that would have grown, because it grew incredibly. It wasn’t just plastic surgeons that were coming to us because they work with orthopaedic surgeons, they work with anaesthetists, and all of a sudden we found that all specialities were coming to us because we were making incredibly big savings and providing a very good service and providing a very good product. So there was clearly some discontent with the the offerings that were available to surgeons. We got a lot of abuse, particularly from one of the defence organisations who basically said this is just like St Paul’s, it will fold, it will never last and so on. Just for reference, it has lasted, PMP still around. It’s still it is the largest provider of insured indemnity to consultants in this country with several thousand consultants on its books. And it’s thriving. So know we were proud of the fact that we broke the mould. Really. We were the first company arguably ever to successfully do Mick’s speciality insured indemnity in the UK. I worked with that company for eight years, I think it was, and then I left. I missed the sort of day to day heart’s heartbeat involvement, if you wish.

[00:05:33] With surgeons, I’m used to working in theatres with surgeons and so on, and I started a consultancy business which still sort of runs in the background behind what I do. That sort of led me to a sort of chance meeting with Neil Neal, Jay Swan, who attended a meeting that I happened to be at. We got talking. Neil said everything that we’d heard seven or eight years ago with the surgeons. We’re frustrated. Our fees are go. We know what we don’t feel. We get what we pay for, we don’t feel we get the right defence and so on. So it was, it was a pathway that I’d already walked down. I decided to almost come back into the market if you wish. This time we’re dentists. Now, Neil was a perfect partner for me because I wouldn’t pretend that my contacts at the time in the dental world were anything like they were in the surgical world. So I needed a partner like Neil, who was very well connected, very well respected and understood the profession intimately. So we formed PD, delighted to say, five years later we’re here, we’re thriving. You know, our numbers are swelling and we’re proud of of being a part of the dramatic changes that everyone has seen in the dental indemnity market now.

[00:06:40] So what was in the medical field? In the surgical field, what was the catalyst that. Made it, you know, market conditions wise that an insurance product was was viable when you came into it, because I remember the Saint Paul. What did they do wrong and what did you do right? And what was what was the situation and how does that reflect in dentistry? I know there’s a lot of questions.

[00:07:04] I know. No, no, it’s fun. I think the Saint Paul, St Paul’s were along the right track. In my mind. They were potentially a little bit too to early in the game because I think where the perfect storm occurred was one of the biggest driving factors. And I hate to say this, but it is a reality. It was price, you know, plastic surgeons were paying 40, 50, £60,000. Now as a percentage of their income after tax, it was a huge amount. So some of them were even giving up private practice because it just wasn’t viable to do it. With the soaring indemnity costs and plastic surgeons were not in the highest risk category in the private sector, there were other specialities that were paying even more than them. So I think it was becoming unviable for many consultants to actually have a private practice. So I think that was one of the driving factors, if not the main one, to be honest, where I think the landscape change was, there was clearly an appetite in the London insurance market to do this and to get into it. But there wasn’t really a knowledge. There wasn’t really knowledge of how to do it and there wasn’t really an avenue to market.

[00:08:05] Insurers don’t go direct to clients. Insurers go through brokers or introducers. Now an insurer can have the desire and the ability to write a product, but if they don’t get clients to their door, it’s like having a wonderful retail outlet that you never open the door of. So I guess what we brought to them was, was, was often used into the market because I was very, very well connected in the surgical arena. So we were bringing them numbers. And with any insurance product, the more numbers you get, the more relaxed the insurer gets, the more it expands, the better the features become. And really that’s what happened. So St Paul’s I think was ahead of its time because there was when St Paul’s went under. My understanding is that there was no other insurers that would pick up all the clients that St Paul’s had. Now, if any insurer went under in the London market, now you’d have a dozen other insurers wanting to pick up the book. And that’s why I think the landscape now is very, very different.

[00:09:01] And what is it about mutuals that makes their business model so much more expensive?

[00:09:07] I think I mean someone from a mutual. May well have a different view on this than than I have but my view is that they’re picking up a lot of history. You know when when you’re with a mutual that the cases that you do with a mutual stay with the mutual forever. So there’s a feature called IBNR which is untrue incurred but not reported, which basically means there’s a whole lot of cases that are coming down the track that no one’s aware of yet, that there could be five, six, seven, eight, nine years in the making because people have, as I’m sure you know, people have a timeframe of three years to report a problem from the date of awareness. And that date of awareness is the absolutely key element to that. You could be blissfully ignorant of a problem for many years. So what we found is when a lot of surgeons started leaving the MDU, the US and the M.P.s, which is the medical arm of dental protection, they were going back to these companies as they were perfectly entitled to, to report cases of patients that they treated when they were with them. Now they were duty bound, these organisations, to pick those cases. So even though they weren’t getting any more revenue from the surgeons, they were still paying out. We also felt that the and this is just purely an opinion, I wouldn’t necessarily have any facts about this, but I know this is a it’s a very commonly shared opinion. We felt that there was a much higher propensity to pay out quickly rather than to fight, because the lawyers know when there is where the hospital is.

[00:10:43] They know that in certain cases it’s just easier and possibly cheaper to pay out and get rid of the case than it is to stand and fight it. Now, that’s fine from a possibly purely financial perspective, but what we found very early on was that one of the things that our clients wanted was defence. They didn’t want the lawyers to roll over because they felt that their their integrity, their professionalism and their abilities were being questioned. And they felt in many cases there was no case to answer. So we were encouraging the lawyers to fight and the lawyers said, look, it will potentially cost more to do so. And what was great was that the insurers stood behind it and said, We know that, but in the long run, we believe that’s the best strategy. Now, what we found, certainly in the group of plastic surgeons, was that the complaint per surgeon from the year one to year five went down by half. Now, we believe that was because we got a reputation for having a very nasty bunch of lawyers behind us, because when lawyers are putting cases as an attack position, they know that certain cases, they haven’t really got much chance of winning. So they hope there is just a simple payout. They win, the client wins. The only losers, I guess, are the insurers. But if you stand and defend those cases, they’re much less likely to pursue them because they know they’ve got less chance of winning. So we encouraged our lawyers to stand and fight, and they did. And we honestly believe that’s what led to a reduction in the number of complaints.

[00:12:15] So the call the attack lawyer, the attack lawyer is aware of who’s defending the particular medic up at that point?

[00:12:27] Exactly right. At a certain point, they will know that. And they will know them.

[00:12:31] They’ll know the reputation.

[00:12:32] Absolutely right.

[00:12:34] How interesting. What about what about the sort of is there a marketing case to be made for? We fight. We don’t settle. Are you finding. I know dentists certainly want that.

[00:12:45] Yeah, I absolutely think there is. I mean, you’ve got to you have to caveat it to some degree, though, because not every dentist wants to fight. Not every dentist is happy when a lawyer says, look, this may well go all the way to court. You may well be standing up in court, being asked a question by a barrister. Some dentists, quite understandably, would run a mile at that thought. So it’s not a case of we want the tail to wag the dog here. We want the dentists and the surgeons to have control to some degree over where the case goes. So if a dentist feels that I’ve done nothing wrong here, I’m happy to stand up in court with you by my side. Mr. Lawyer, I want this to happen. Of course, the lawyers are much more inclined to go down that road on exactly the same set of circumstances. Another dentist might say, I don’t want this hassle, just get rid of it. So the lawyers really need to undo the fall into line to a very large degree with what the dentists want them to do. Of course, if they think the dentist is barking completely up the wrong tree, they’ll advise on that as well, because it may well be that I don’t know that a personality is getting in the way of a clear vision sometimes.

[00:13:54] So we do get the client that because I’ve done nothing wrong, definitely nothing to do with me. The lawyers look at the notes and go. Not your finest hour. So there will always be that element where the lawyers may well lean a little bit heavier on the. Fantastic to just make them see that it’s probably not a case they’re going to win. But the critical thing is that it’s a two way process. It’s not an organisation running off with a case, sorting it in the background and the dentist not having a clue what’s going on. We get so many cases where we get the what’s called a letter of good standard from previous providers, and it’s actually a revelation to the dentist what’s on it. You know, we’ve had many cases where the dentist has gone. I didn’t even know that I’ve been settled. Now, I think that’s appalling. You know, that should never happen. It doesn’t happen because the dentist knows exactly what stage that legal case is at every step of the way, because it’s their right to. It’s their reputation. It’s their insurance record and so on. So, you know, that, I think is quite a significant change from the previous circumstances to where the insured market is now.

[00:15:01] With your experience in medical and in something that’s sort of emotional, emotionally charged as plastic surgery. Yeah. Do you find dental indemnity is easier than that or would you say it’s the same set of issues? No note keeping communication and all of that. Is there a nuance to dental?

[00:15:24] I think what I found, without doubt and I think this is very largely reflected in the number of cases that go to the respective governing body, is that surgeons, rightly or wrongly and frankly my view wrongly, put on a bit of a pedestal, maybe slightly more than your dentist. Now, whether that’s because they see the dentist more regular, whether that’s because clients see it as a less technical profession, I honestly don’t know. But there’s no doubt that that is the case. And I think that is also one of the reasons why dentists are far more likely to be taken to the GDC than a surgeon is to the GMC. It’s completely wrong, in my view, but those are the facts. Now, the number of times we saw a surgeon who had on his record or her record, a case with the GMC was few and far between. We see it all the time with dentists. You know, I know there’s great differences between the GDC and the GMC and the way they’re structured and the way they’re run and everything else. But I also think that there is that propensity of of a of a patient much higher to take a dentist to the GDC for those reasons. Now, dentists won’t want to hear that, but a lot of them will will probably agree with me that their profession is not necessarily seen in the same esteem as the surgical profession for for reasons that societal really nothing else, anything more.

[00:16:45] But then you’ve got the sort of the three variables there. If we’re comparing medical and dental, you’ve got the professional themselves. Yeah, you’ve got the what you just said, the way that the patients perceive that professional and then you’ve got the regulator. Should we go into the other two. What, what, what do you see as the differences between the regulation of GMC and GDC? Is there a lighter touch? Is it more sort of solutions orientated?

[00:17:12] Yeah, the GMC seems to be a much more. How can I put this sort of a rational organisation really? You know, they’re not they’re not looking for a reason to strike the doctor off. They seem to be very, very rarely. And it would have to be an extreme case that they would strike a doctor off. You know, some of the restrictions and the and the cases that we’ve seen from the GDC are completely different to the point where, you know, outside looking in, because often we arrive at these cases after they’ve finished in a way on a person’s record, we’re slightly baffled as to how the situation has developed to the position that it has. Now, I can’t put my finger on why that would be the case. I think it certainly seems to be historic. This doesn’t seem to be a recent thing, but surgeons don’t have favour with the GMC. They don’t want to be in front of it. But I think fundamentally they feel they’re going to get a fair hearing and they feel that it’s a regulatory body that is there for them as well as for the patient. And I just get the feeling that dentists feel that the GDC is a stick to beat them with. Now, I know a lot of insurers have tried to talk to the GDC and certain insurers that we’ve worked with feel that they’re making a bit of progress. But I think that’s a long haul. You know, it’s it’s it’s a tight turn around that will take years, I think, to get it to the same stage as the GMC.

[00:18:32] Yeah. Although I mean, I know since you’ve been involved, the GDC has been in a real state, but it wasn’t always like this. You know, when I qualify 25 years ago, it wasn’t the feeling you had from the GDC. Of course, as you said, you don’t want to be in front of them, but you didn’t get stories of perfectly brilliant clinicians who’d had massive issues because of something someone had found in the notes about something they’d not written or whatever. What about the professional themselves? Are surgeons different to dentists? I bet there’s some egotistical surgeons out there.

[00:19:05] Yeah, there absolutely are. There’s no question about that. And what I found interesting was I did notice quite a difference between certain types of surgery. So your gynaecologist would be a slightly different personality trait to your plastic surgeon, would be a slightly different personality trait to your orthopaedic surgeon. So we did notice distinct differences like that. Surgeons themselves say, well, plastic plastic surgeons, plastic surgeons refers to themselves as the artists and they refer to orthopaedic surgeons as the Carpenters. Now, there’s a bit of ego in that statement alone, really, isn’t there? But I can sort of see where they’re coming from, because the genre that I align most with the majority of dentistry, I think, is the plastic surgeons, simply because it’s a very heavily laden self-pay market. So it’s got it’s got that level of expectation. It’s got the fact that it’s your money that you’re paying. So in private dentistry and plastic surgery, the patient expectation is is unfortunately slightly higher than it will be in other forms of surgery and NHS dentistry. And I honestly believe that leads to more claims as well, because if the expectation is higher, the fact that it’s your money, you are more inclined to be slightly more aggressive when it comes to a complaint and potentially taking a case legally. So we see a lot of similarities and particularly in areas of dentistry like implant dentistry as well. We can see very great similarities between between implant dentistry and plastic surgery.

[00:20:32] And was there an equivalent of dental law partnership in the world? There must be some ambulance chasers in the world of plastic surgery.

[00:20:40] There was a lot. We didn’t have the dental partnership, which is probably a blessing, but there was yeah, there was plenty of lawyers that were just simply out there for for medical cases. I mean, if I was working from home, I’d, I’d have Jeremy Kyle in the background sometimes. And I did a just a little straw poll of one morning and I counted five different adverts for medical and well for medical cases by lawyers in two mornings of one week. And that really sort of brings it home to you that it’s actually very, very easy to get to a lawyer who will encourage you and what you along that pathway to get you to sue a surgeon.

[00:21:22] I mean, we naturally have a sort of a dislike for that kind of lawyer, but I think we’ve got to accept the reality that it’s a massively profitable part of law, hugely to to I’ve heard stories, you know, nine figure sums for selling these companies. Yeah. And and the reality of that is but what annoys me sometimes is Gary, you get you read stories about dental law, partnership, lobbying, government, you know, organising as one company is one law firm, organising in a way that we as a whole profession haven’t managed to do. You see on on our side as far as we’ve got the BTA, do you do you see dentists as a sort of disjointed lot who can’t organise?

[00:22:12] I think interestingly I the similarities, the differences I see with dentists is certainly certainly plastic surgeons. Many, many plastic surgeons work on their own. You know, it’s not been until certainly the last few years that they’ve ever come together and working groups or practices where there is several that do different specialities. So one thing that was refreshing, of course, was the whole dental structure where of course, pretty much all dentists work with colleagues, which is really quite rare. I certainly was quite rare in plastic surgery. So that said, you’ve you’ve also got so many dentists with so many different views, it’s quite difficult to get anything like a consensus. I mean, plastic surgeons in the UK is in the hundreds, you know, dentists in the UK is in the tens of thousands. So that in itself brings massive differences in the opinions. And to be fair, I think the spread of the circumstances in dentistry is much broader than it is in the surgical world as well. You know, and associate dentists, we know obviously dentists income because every single one declares on their applications to us, some of them are earning below average wage right the way through to the very high end dentists that are earning seven figures. So I think the spread of of circumstances in dentistry also means it’s probably much more difficult to corral opinion and corral a consensus of a direction. We find it quite difficult to work with the organisations for that exact reason because you’ve got very large numbers, you’ve sometimes got a difficult consensus to find. We’ve got a couple that we’re very close to getting a scheme together with, but it has been difficult to do that because of the breadth of opinion, which is not a bad thing, but it can be problematic when it comes to getting things done. You know, when we approach customisations, they often. Say, Well, this would take a year or two. We’re like, why, why? Why can’t we get this done?

[00:24:11] I guess also from the perspective of expert witnesses, when you’ve got so many different opinions, yeah, that must be a real complicated I mean, in in plastic surgery, the if if the opinions are fewer. Yeah. It’s just easier to figure out what’s going on.

[00:24:27] Massively, massively, massively. And there are cases in plastic surgery where there are surgeons where you wouldn’t find an expert witness to go against him. Oh, it’s very difficult to. Which makes it so much easier to defend the case if if the expert witness, inverted commas and has done a quarter of the case is that the person who’s been sued has. So. Yeah, it does make it I think slightly easier. Alex It’s a much narrower profession. Everyone knows everybody else in plastic surgery. And of course you’ll always find someone to say to be on the other side of the witness stand. But in dentistry, it’s so much easier to do that.

[00:25:05] Let’s say, okay, let’s, let’s move on. Let’s say I’m with one of the big mutuals and I’ve had enough. Let’s let’s say I haven’t even had a bad experience. I’ve just had enough of paying too much.

[00:25:17] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:25:19] Now there’s a, there’s a set of insurance based companies out there that I could turn to. What would you say is PDI value add? I mean, obviously, generally in positioning your business, you can’t be everything to everyone. So what’s what’s the kind of dentist you’re looking for, number one? And number two, how easy is the process of moving from one of the mutuals?

[00:25:43] Okay. That that’s a really good question, because if I was in a position where I was with a mutual and let’s face it, then pretty much all dentists start with a mutual and they sort of grow up through their training. And so they’re always coming to from a position of, in some cases, real comfort in a mutual. Now we have cases where we actually discourage dentists from moving because we feel if they don’t understand, one, what they have to what we can provide. We don’t want a dentist to move. We don’t want anyone to move purely because it’s cheaper, because if they don’t understand what they’re getting and they don’t understand the implications, then that’s not a good move. You know, quite frequently we get people coming in two days before their renewal saying, Save me morning, I’ll just up the price I want to move. Now, we’d rather that person moved in a year’s time and was fully, fully clear of what we do. The moved just to save a couple of grand or whatever it might be. So I think the key thing is we have we have a number of products and we fit most, if not all. You know, we have a product for what we call distressed dentists, distressed emotionally and from an insurance perspective as well. These are dentists that have got a record that is not to their liking or potentially not to the liking of the mutuals as well. And quite often they’re just given a letter that says, we’re not going to renew you this year. Thanks very much. We get quite a large number of those because these dentists are basically cast out of the mutuals and don’t know where to go. So we have a product that works for them.

[00:27:12] That’s a higher risk dentist from an insurance perspective.

[00:27:15] It is. And I think where I don’t know what the insurance companies do, but what we do is we we sort of ring fence those dentists because one of the great arguments about mutuality is you’ve got everybody in the one pot. So in other words, if you’ve got 100 and this this is the best example I can possibly give you is from our first 20 applications. When we were back with the surgeons, we had our first 20 applications with some plastic surgeons. That was in the first 18. It was probably about 2025 claims between them, the first 18 and the last two, there were 39 cases between the last two. Now it makes no sense to me to put the last two in the same pot as the first 18, because that completely changes the dynamic of the whole pot. So what we do as insurance companies, I guess, is we go to certain insurers and say, right, we are going to be bringing you risks that are not necessarily the best risks, but we want you to specialise in them. We want you to give them robust defence. We want you to work with them and improve that record because there’s people that are not as not as capable in every profession. But we honestly believe that all dentists reach a certain level of qualification and ability. Some of them just need help, whether it be note taking, whether it be consent, whatever it may be. We don’t feel for a minute that a bad record will always and should remain about director. It can be improved. It may well be that we don’t get it completely clean, but we can certainly improve it. Now, our goal really is any any dentists that come to us and go into the distress scheme. We want them in the main scheme and we want to move them across on the basis that we’ve improved their record to the point where their record is can be compared alongside anybody else. So that’s sort of one way I think, which we.

[00:29:06] When you say you put them in a different pot, we you’re talking purely talking from the cost of insurance perspective. Or do you handle them differently as well?

[00:29:17] I think you know, I think we do handle differently because I think what is really what is really clear is a lot of these dentists don’t really know how they’ve got into that position yet. Of course, they know there’s been claims made against them, but I think they don’t understand that it’s either a higher than average or they don’t understand what they’re doing wrong. Because if you do something wrong in in innocence and you keep doing it, it takes someone to sort of point it out as to where you can improve and what other direction you can take. And it may well be, and it often is that the lawyers will come in and say, look, we’ve seen your consent process. It’s got holes in it. Now, unless you’re told that, you probably don’t know. So you’re always going to get claims on that basis. So the lawyers will work with these dentists. So we tend to find that we spend a lot more time with these dentists because they have got a circumstance and a situation that is directly affecting not just their professional circumstances, but their personal circumstances as well. It’s very stressful to get a letter from a defence organisation saying either you give us 30 grand or we’re going to let you go. You know, either it’s crying down the phone to me that I’ve never met and you can feel the pain at the other end of the phone line. So we do tend to find it. We spend a lot more time with those dentists because they need it. It’s as simple as that. You know, it really is a case of if a dentist comes to us completely clear and understands the process, yeah, we will potentially have a lot less contact with them because they don’t need it. But other dentists that really do need our help and our expertise don’t get it.

[00:30:48] As far as claims. Have you got stats on different types of claims, different types of patients, different types of dentists?

[00:30:56] The lawyers will have we don’t have them off top of our head, but we can we can certainly pull them from the lawyers. Yeah.

[00:31:01] What does one of the one treatment modality must stand out as high risk implants, surely.

[00:31:08] Yeah. Yeah, it is. Anything period is quite high as well.

[00:31:14] Neglected period.

[00:31:15] Yes. Yes. You know, I personally feel I personally feel that the personality of the dentist is one of the most important factors as well and how you actually handle a complaint or a claim because a very, very good dentist who is technically brilliant may not have the personality to have his, his or her integrity and abilities questioned. And if they don’t handle that initial complaint well, it could easily lead to potentially a very, very high claim. We’ve seen it several times in plastics where the patient has just been pushed back, push back, push back till the point where they make a claim and then then the horse has bolted and the damage is done. So I honestly feel that the the the approach to claims is absolutely critical in this whole area. And that’s that’s a big area of education for us as well.

[00:32:07] So I guess that would fall under the umbrella of sort of risk management in dental practice.

[00:32:12] Very much.

[00:32:13] So. Go on outline key points there. Obviously handle complaints empathetically, right.

[00:32:19] Yeah. And pathetically quickly, effectively, consistently. I think they’re the absolutely key areas. Speed is probably as much as good as anything because when a patient makes a complaint at that point in time, that is the most important thing on that patient’s mind, potentially, potentially in their life, if it’s a really serious one. And the speed in which the complaint is at least acknowledged, I think is absolutely critical. I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all in saying, well, looking into your complaint, we’ll get back to you very quickly. You know, and it should be a process, a complaint process under siege, you see, anyway, that that you follow internally as to how a complaint is handled, managed and run. So I think it’s absolutely essential that the response is given to a patient as soon as you possibly can just to acknowledge it. Bit of a holding pattern if you wish. It is the attitude that I think is the defining factor in where these cases go. It really can be what you respond and the manner in which you respond. More importantly, that determines what the next step will be. I think there are some patients that are just hell bent on suing you. They’re almost unavoidable. But you’ve still got to show that you’ve handled that complaint properly because that will heavily weigh in your favour if it does go to a legal case, you know, because even a top lawyers will look at their own clients and sometimes think there’s any favours there and they’re much less likely to recommend that the case is progressed.

[00:33:44] What about NHS versus private patients? Is one more likely to take a claim, take on a claim than the other?

[00:33:53] We have seen some data a few years ago about the about geographical location, which which we found very interesting as well. There are certain areas in the country where there is just simply a higher propensity for a patient to make. And and interestingly it was very, very much NHS patients as well.

[00:34:10] So where’s that.

[00:34:12] North west. Liverpool was very high. Really? Yeah. Liverpool came up very high in that as a mancunian. That’s not an anti Scouse comment because Manchester is very high.

[00:34:22] It was very high as well. Well, the difference between those two towns.

[00:34:28] It’s just an East Lancs road between us and I live right in the middle, so I am on the fence. Yeah. Yeah, it was. There’s a lot of detail in claims data and we are we’ve we’ve had a recent discussion with the lawyers about can we have more data? Because in a way I see I see indemnity very similar to dentistry. It’s very much about prevention rather than cure. Dentists don’t want patients presenting with problems. We don’t want dentists presenting tools with problems because at that point, you know, it’s stressful. The lawyers are involved, it costs money, etc., etc. We would much rather we did get a single call from our clients all year and in the nicest possible way. I mean, inevitably that’s going to happen, but it’s very, very much a situation that we can work on the prevention element rather than just handle the problem well when it pops up.

[00:35:20] So on the dreaded day that a letter comes in from the GDC.

[00:35:25] Yeah.

[00:35:26] Dentist contacts you guys?

[00:35:28] Yep.

[00:35:29] Who do you speak to? I wonder one of your clinical advisor types, right?

[00:35:32] A lawyer. I was a lawyer.

[00:35:34] Not a dentist. Yeah.

[00:35:36] Now, I’ve got this debate many, many times now. This is my opinion. My opinion is when you when you get that letter from the GDC. If you want a dentist, you’ll ring a mate. If you want.

[00:35:49] Someone who knows what he’s talking about, though.

[00:35:51] Hopefully. Yeah, but how do you know? Dentist on the other end of the phone knows what they’re talking about. Because let’s be honest, it’s not going to be if you get a dentist at the other end of the phone, that will not be the person that sits with you in the case. The person that sits with you in the GDC case will be a lawyer. So what we prefer as a company, we prefer that very, very experienced and qualified lawyers take that first call because we want these cases addressed very quickly. We want them squashed very quickly if they can be. And the best way to do that is with the most experienced person you can possibly find. Now, if the dentist is speaking to a lawyer and thinks this guy or this girl doesn’t know what I’m talking about, of course they can talk to a dentist. But you know what? In five years it’s never happened. And in all my years with surgeons, it never happened. So I honestly believe that. Yes, of course. I got asked this last Tuesday how many dentists have on your helpline? And I said, no, they’re all lawyers. They’re all lawyers because that’s what you want. Oh, what if I need a dentist? Or if you need a dentist, you can have a dentist. But they’re not on the helpline. The lawyers are on the helpline because they’re the people that you need for a legal case of a legal a legal query.

[00:36:59] Now, even if it’s just I’ve got this patient a little bit annoyed, how do I draft a letter? You still need the lawyer to do that. Now, I’m not saying there’s not a dentist perfectly capable of doing that. Of course there is. But we honestly believe that a highly experienced lawyer at the very first step is the way to go. One thing I should mention, the choice of lawyers is very, very personal. Neil spent weeks chatting to the lawyers to make sure that he was happy with them, how they did things, what they did. And then by a really happy for us development the law firm to be two law firms I know really well I know Clyde and Co really well they were our lawyers of choice on the surgical scheme. And there’s a company called BLM Law who were our preferred lawyers on the dental scheme. They’ve just merged. So if I was going to pick two law firms to merge, it will be those two. So we’re delighted with that merger because it’s formed. I think I’m right in saying the largest medical and dental malpractice team in the country, and they’re the lawyers behind us. So we’re absolutely made up about that.

[00:37:59] And look, I expect they’re so used to getting that call that this question might seem obvious to you, but to me, it doesn’t seem the answer doesn’t seem that obvious. People call up in all different states, don’t they?

[00:38:12] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:38:13] Yeah. I mean, it’s very, very I’ve heard that the number of times I’ve heard suicidal ideation from dentists going through this process is more than ever I’ve ever heard it from anyone else. Are they trained to handle that side of things? The sort of do they sometimes refer the dentists to a counsellor or.

[00:38:31] Yes, very much they do. They watch. I mean, the welfare of of the dentists is absolutely critical. I mean, yes, of course, the lawyers are they’re lawyers. Lawyers can handle a person who’s distressed. But there is a certain point where it is beyond their trade and it’s beyond what they should be doing, and they absolutely know that. So of course, they would bring in counsellors or the professionals as well if they felt that there was any possibility that there was that was potentially going to be harm to the dentist, whether it be whether it be mental or physical. So, of course, they would they would contact other medical professionals as well or peers. You know, we’ve got people that we can use within the company, Neil being one of them. Neil’s very, very experienced dentist. If people want to chat with Neil purely as as a dental professional, he’s always there for that. And we have other dentists that we can call on for that as well. But yes, the lawyers are there prima facie to to give the legal advice. They’re not counsellors. They do know how to handle and calm people down, because, as you rightly say, well, as I said to you about 10 minutes ago, I have people ringing me in tears. So the lawyers will get that as well, because I’ve never been sued such what I can imagine, it’s horrendous. I can imagine it’s even worse when it’s someone that you know, someone that you’ve treated possibly over many years and someone that is alleging things against you that you might know 100% not to be true. So the mental side of all dental cases really shouldn’t be underestimated.

[00:39:57] And the stakes the stakes are high. That’s the thing, right? Because massively high. Most look, I used to be a dentist and I stopped being a dentist ten, ten years ago, and not because of any sort of legal claim or anything, but because of the the company and work and everything. But I remember even then, even then, stopping practising dentistry seemed like such a massive step because you’re so super specialised so early that you think there’s nothing else you can do. Now, if you’re a proper dentist, that you have a practice, you have kids in school, school fees and the like, the stakes suddenly are I might not be able to pay my.

[00:40:33] Feels right. Absolutely huge.

[00:40:35] On top of all the things that you said about the, you know, the patient knowing that you’ve done the best for the patient and so forth. And, you know, we’re going to we’re going to try and delve more into this on the podcast and try and talk about more cases. Hopefully you can help us with with some of that later on, Gary.

[00:40:52] Yeah, I think so. To jump in, I think one thing that people really do need to hear is that they’re not alone. You know, they’re not it’s not the first time it’s happened. I can pretty much guarantee every single case we ever see has got precedent, circumstances, you know, of the dentist of the case, whatever it may be. So and there are people to help them. You know, it’s called a helpline for a reason, that it’s there to assist you. It’s there to give you the best support that they possibly can or to pass you on to other people if they if if the need arises. But it must be very, very distressing. We know it’s distressing. You know, I wouldn’t mind me saying this. One of the reasons that Neil was so aggrieved with the defence organisation that he left was the one he’s ever had. It stressed him out for two years. It was completely exonerated. Nothing happened. But he felt that the defence he got was well below the standard that you would have expected and it personally affected him for a long time. So we have a very, very real example within our own companies as to how it can affect somebody.

[00:41:55] Gary, in the industry, is it true that you’ve got a record of all the calls the dentist has ever made to indemnity wherever it went?

[00:42:07] Yes. Yeah, yeah. We have to look those. That’s right. Yeah.

[00:42:10] No, but but to previous indemnity companies.

[00:42:13] Oh, yes, that’s correct. So when we ask for what’s called a letter of good standing, that letter of good standing tells us is is all the activity from all the previous providers. Now, sometimes they come with limited information, sometimes they come with quite a lot of information. I think the key thing is that I know dentists feel that that counts against them and we would very much turn that around. If you don’t win your indemnity company when you’re facing a problem, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll handle it wrong. There’s a very real possibility you’ll potentially prejudice the case. But when it does reach the insurer of or the or the indemnity company, it costs them more money because of your innocent but erroneous actions in trying to deal with it. So we would encourage people to pick up the help line because if they don’t, it could actually be much more damaging to them personally to see the costs and certainly that their insurance record. I mean, you know, we expect claims it’s as simple as that. That’s the environment that dentists are operating within in this day and age. So we expect pretty much every dentist will ring that help line at some point. That’s just the law of averages.

[00:43:25] That’s just what happens. So, no, we don’t punish them. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say if you make claim after claim after claim, it won’t affect your premium, because of course it will. Just like driving your car into a wall will affect your premium in car insurance. But equally, the communication is absolutely key. You know, we worry if we don’t get a call from a dentist for, say, five years because no one will tell me that that dentist has never had a patient that has either threatened a complaint or brought a complaint, because I’m afraid that’s just the environment that we’re in. But it’s not used as a stick to beat that with not by yours anyway. I can’t comment for the companies and I know the perception, but it’s not used as a stick to beat, to beat them with. And I think that’s really down to the quality and experience of insurance underwriting that we use because these underwriters know how to interpret these these claims records. They don’t just hold the numbers and say, right, you know, it’s a simple algorithm. Therefore there’s your price. There is an element, a large element of of good feeling and then human experience that goes into underwriting.

[00:44:28] Interesting. So then you’ve someone the previous example like if someone’s leaving a mutual comes to you, you said if they’re high risk or distressed, you put them put them into one pot. How many pots are there? Is it just those two pots or. Yes, depending on my mentorship, the courses I’ve been on. Do you ask those questions as well?

[00:44:47] Yeah, we do. I mean I mean, potentially there’s there’s as many pots as we want in a way, because we’ve got access to the whole London market. So arguably we could go to as many shows as we want. That doesn’t make sense because there are different products. So we tend to use access underwriting that we use to our brokers on Metro because access only pro of access exclusively, it’s a very, very good scheme. We know the team there, we know the team. Ahmed Pro, we’ve chosen to move to our metro in the last six months because of their relationship with access. The more you work with underwriters, the more you get from them what you want. In other words, it may just be a case that you think they just need to take a little bit more of a punt on. You know, you’ve got that rapport with them to do so. So your vanilla dentist, if you want to call it that, which is probably I’d say 85% of the market will come to us. We’ll put them into access underwriting. They’ll give them two options. Claims made, claims occurred. We work with the dentists for them to understand the differences and what’s best for them. And it’s not it’s a million miles and pressure sell and certainly for us insurance it’s a case of it’s educational rather than pressure selling.

[00:45:53] There are other schemes though for the specialists and without mentioning the name of the organisation, we’re working very closely with one of the implant associations because we do feel that there is distinct differences in in what they do and how and how the scheme should work. I mean one of the elements I give you is damage to reputation. You know, implant dentists feel, I think that their reputation is they need to safeguard it maybe more than an associate dentist. What? Because associate dentist, I guess if you want, it’s probably a poor choice of phrase, but it can hide within the practice. An implant dentist can’t. They’re almost like an island that goes from practice to practice. And, you know, the press release falls firmly on them individually. So. So for implant dentists, for example, we may well or we will have very soon a completely separate scheme that fits them and their circumstances particularly well. So I don’t subscribe to this school of thought that basically says, you know, you can all go to one insurer. I really don’t. I never have it. I never will. I’ve worked with too many insurers to know that one size does not fit all. You cannot cram 40,000 dentists into one product. It just doesn’t make sense to me. And I think we are unique in that.

[00:47:08] I think we are unique and that we don’t just try and hurt thousands of dentists in one direction. This is why I mean, you spoke about this many, many times. I don’t think we’ll ever of 20,000 clients. We don’t want 20,000 clients. We want a good number of clients. It gives us clout with the insurers that know us, that know me personally, that know Neil personally, that pick up the phone. It was quite often before they pick up the phone to the lawyer. I think we get more calls directly to me, Neil, than the lawyers do now. We don’t ever try and give legal advice, but we’ll certainly say, don’t worry, we’ll sort it, we’ll get the lawyers to call you and so on. So I think dentists feel with PD, I would argue more than any other organisation that it’s personal. They’re not just a number and they don’t just send us a cheque every year. The cheque got a hold of mine. They don’t just send us a bank transfer every year and that’s that’s their only contact with us. You know, they can contact us any time. Neil prides himself on this. Neil prides himself on the face to face contact that he can get with clients. And when we’re proud of that.

[00:48:07] Yeah, Neil certainly is very good at that. It’s always got a way of breaking down complex things into simple bite size. He’s very.

[00:48:15] Methodical. He does it very methodical.

[00:48:18] Very methodical. I’m going to ask you something a little bit, sort of maybe unfair now, but I wanted to make the case for mutuals.

[00:48:30] Then I think.

[00:48:32] You know, they can’t all be bad.

[00:48:35] You know, I don’t think they are. But, you know, I think they get. There is a lot of scaremongering that goes on with with mutuals. And I don’t subscribe to, you know, this whole. They’re going to go bust and they’re not going to be there to pick up the past. I don’t think they are going to go bust. If someone ask me how they’re going to go bust and it’s a yes or no answer, I would say no they’re not. I know one organisation in particular is peddling that. You’ve got to be with officers when the mutuals go bust, nobody’s going to be there to pick up the pieces. I just can’t see that happening. The government, I just can’t see the government allowing so many medics. I’m not talking dentists with a mutual we’re talking dentists, GP’s surgeons, physios. You know, the MP, for example, look out for 200,000 people on their books in many countries. So it’s been oversimplified, the, the financial structure of the mutuals and yes, of course they’re under pressure. Of course they are, because it stands to reason if more people leave than arrive, prices are going to go up. So at some point, that becomes a critical that does become a critical point where they’re under pressure. And one of them in particular, I think everyone’s seen their public accounts. They’re not in a stronger position as they were ten years ago. That’s quick. That’s quite clearly the case. But I don’t think that dentists and doctors should necessarily run for the hills and think that any of the mutuals is going to go under in the short term.

[00:49:56] I just don’t think that’s going to happen. And the other thing that is pedalled is this it’s almost random whether they protect you on this element of discretion. Now, no one is going to argue successfully. I don’t think that discretion is better than insured certainty, but it is not a lottery. When you pick up the phone to a mutual that they’re going to help, they’re going to assist you. You don’t cross your fingers and go, am I going to be the one that don’t help? That’s just not the case. And again, some of our competitors are putting it across like that. You have no idea whether they’re going to help you. Of course you have an idea they’re going to help you. They will help you on that. There is a reason for them not to know. In my experience, the reasons that they don’t help people is sometimes when there’s a dispute, it may be it may be a premium dispute or a fee dispute. They would they would argue it may well be that they feel that you haven’t acted as you should by reporting it in the right way. And there could be activity, just a Patterson case. The MDU pulled out with that in the middle. But I think to be fair to the MDU, they were probably citing criminal activity there.

[00:51:04] So you know, it’s not as black and white as well. It’s not as great as discretion can be, can be used and you don’t know when it’s going to be used. Yes, they can use it. Yes, they have used it, but I don’t think it’s used anywhere near as much as he’s being portrayed. I still think and the government thinks that there is a much stronger case for a regulated organisations. You know, that was the recommendation that the Government made just before COVID happened that they were much more in favour of a regulated mutual body. Now regulated in this country means it falls under the Financial Conduct Authority. So in other words, it’s in my view, it’s likely at some point that the mutuals will go to an insurance background. Now, that will be interesting because immediately they’ll be they’ll have to levy IPT insurance premium tax. So that’s 12%. They’re going to go on your fee straight away. The other thing is you’ve got to find an insurer to pick it up. So that will be an interesting step if it happens. I believe it will. I think the government will pick it up and run with it again at some point. I think without COVID, it would already be much closer to that position than it than it has been than it is right now. But it will be a very interesting change of events. When that happens.

[00:52:17] Would their cost not go down and become more sort of direct competitors to you?

[00:52:22] I don’t believe they will, no, because I think I think this whole model of putting everyone in the same pot is potentially a problem because. In the pot with dentists. And this this is the. This is this was our age argument when we started premium medical protection. We could choose who we took as clients. We could we could say to someone who had the worst record we’ve ever seen, you just don’t fit our model. Now with a mutual everyone was in there. We have seen some absolutely horrendous insurance records where individuals alone will rack up millions in terms of payments. Now, no one will convince me that those cases do not have a direct impact on the on the fees of other cases, because, of course, they do. And it is it is a fact that a relatively small number of people rack up a very high number of claims. Now, if your model is to put everyone together, you’re naturally going to be under a lot more pressure at the median line than a structure like ours, where we do take cases that are distressed, but we move them separate to the larger body of medical professionals.

[00:53:30] I think it’s a credit to you, buddy, because in in an environment where I mean, it’s a fear based area right now for dentists, you’re choosing not to use fear as your you know, the reason why people come to you. And and it must take discipline to do that because because it’s about fear. And it is.

[00:53:50] It is about fear. Well, thank you. You know, it’s it’s probably I would say our growth has probably not been as as big as one or two other companies because of that.

[00:54:01] Because of it.

[00:54:02] But I don’t care. Neil doesn’t care. You know, we want to do the right thing. We want to do the right thing for for dentists. And we don’t think scaring the pants off them into moving is the right thing. We don’t think moving for price is the right thing. You know, the acid test and we’re under no illusions what we’re doing here. We’re selling the ability to pick up the phone, get help, but help as and when you need it. Nothing else. We’re not selling anything other than that. That’s what that’s what dentists want. Now, we believe that and this is borne out by our numbers. When people move to PD, they don’t move anywhere else. Now, that is the best compliment that we can have. Our retention rate is almost perfect. So people join us as they understand what we do and they don’t leave because we don’t let them down. Now, what we don’t want is people to move on mask as it’s cheap or because they’ve been blind panic and then suddenly realise, oh Christ, this is almost as bad. But the leader in me last week who for obvious reasons will remain nameless, who move to one of our competitors.

[00:55:03] And she rang and said, I’ve been with this other company for two years. They’ve utterly let me down. I didn’t know what I was going to. I was in a panic because I got a problem with a with a mutual and I don’t know what to do now. And we spent absolutely ages going through her case, making sure that she absolutely understood what we were about and what she wanted. And we said to it at one point, we said, look, if we don’t fit what you want, don’t come because we don’t want clients to come and go. We don’t want a revolving door for clients. We want people to come. We do what we say we’re going to do. We support them. Prices will go up to some degree, but they’re never going to go on a curve like that. If we get it right and people are happy, it should be a piece of paper that you’re sticking your jaw. You use it when you need it, you get the defence you want. It keeps you focussed back where you want to be and that’s in your dental practice. That’s how it should be.

[00:55:54] All right then. You’ve been around long enough to see recessions. Does that affect your industry or do you expect more claims during a recession? Yeah.

[00:56:07] Yeah. I mean, people get more. Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. You know, economic factors, they do influence people. You know, they it pains me to say so, but I’ve got a friend who’s pretty much said that exactly to me. You know, he actually said to me the other day, he said, I probably wouldn’t normally be looking at this, but I’m a little bit desperate at the moment, so I’m going to make a claim. And I just shook my shoulder and said, look, you you’ve got a right to make a claim. We would never, ever, ever diminish the right for a patient to make a claim if something’s gone wrong or it was just a bad day, whatever it may be, we would never, ever, ever seek to diminish the right for a patient to seek compensation. We don’t like the use of this process as a means of income. That is what it shouldn’t be, and that’s when it really does come down to the robustness of the legal defence and the balls, if you pardon the expression of the legal defence, to actually stand their ground and push these cases back. So unfortunately, it’s very, very easy to bring a case. Very easy. You make one phone call to a lawyers, they handle it. If you’ve got a sniff of a chance of winning. Sometimes they’ll just take a punt. And there we go again. There’s another legal case that we’re fighting. But I do think that the economic climate makes a direct impact on the number of claims. Yes, I do.

[00:57:27] It’s a shame.

[00:57:29] It is a shame.

[00:57:31] We’ve had it good for a while. Gary, going forward, how do you see the industry developing? So you said about you think the mutuals might get an element of insurance. Within them. What are your plans going forward?

[00:57:46] Well, our plans is in many ways, many of us have the feeling that we’re not going to necessarily worry about what everybody else is doing. We’re worrying about what we do. You know, we’re constantly trying to evolve the product. We’re constantly trying to improve the product. One of the reasons we moved to Metro is we felt that there was a real chance that we could improve the product because of their association with access underwriting. So that’s one of the main reasons for moving there. So we’ve very much focus on ourselves. We like the fact that there’s competition because it pretty much endorses what we do as as insurers. I mean, one of the biggest challenges we faced right at the very start when we formed premium medical protection, was we were the only one. So people were scared to come to us because because this whole pulse thing was being thrown around by the media in particular, and people were scared to move. So there was very much a you move first and I’ll see how it is in a year. So we found that by year three when the fallacy that they won’t last a year was completely obliterated, it went through the roof in year three because people were then looking at the savings that we were making and the defence that we were giving and the support we were giving.

[00:58:56] And they were saying, You know what? Maybe it’s time for other options. So we like the fact that there is a good number of healthy competitors out there in the market. We don’t like the fact that there is a huge amount of it’s lack of education, mis education or or selling. I don’t know which one is it? Maybe a combination of all three, because we see dentists moving for reasons that causes a little bit of concern. That’s how it is. It’s a big market, competitive market. You always get that. But we’ll very much focus on what we’re doing. We’re constantly trying to improve the product. We’re constantly trying to stabilise pricing and keep them as as flat as we possibly can. And we’ll listen to our clients and it’s really listening to our clients that we we constantly harassing the brokers and the insurers to do this, do that, do that, and that’s on the back of the feedback that we get directly from our clients.

[00:59:48] So on that education point, yeah, it’s definitely in your interest to educate your customers, your dentist. Do you have like a formalised way of doing that or is it more to do with case by case?

[01:00:03] It’s not formalised, it probably should be more formalised. And one of the things that we want to do is, is, is, is, is podcast with lawyers is face to face meetings, hallelujah again with the lawyers where sometimes they go through like a mock case. They’re difficult to do because you’ve got to try and get 20 or 30 people in one place, which is never easy. But with the advent of Zoom and and forums like this, it makes it a little bit easier for us to get these sort of things organised. So unfortunately with the big merger that client and BLM were going through, these sort of things got a little bit of a back burner, but they’re right there at the forefront now. So, yes, we very much want to do that. Your second point was on an individual basis, that’s where the real work does happen, to be fair, and that’s where the communication directly between the lawyer and the client and sometimes referrals as well really makes a difference. The reason we get involved is there is this element of, as we touched on before, about, I don’t think I should report it or count against me. You know, this is where the insurers and ourselves with the brokers can step in and say, no, that’s not the case.

[01:01:10] That’s not a question for the lawyers. That’s a question for the insurers. You know, if you don’t report a case, it’s more likely to be prejudicial. And if you do, we’re constantly stressing that. We’re constantly stressing it because there is this fear factor. You know, I saw a claims history not long ago and there was about 12, 12, what we call circumstances on it, spread over about seven years. That was a perfectly, perfectly reasonable and normal claims history. There was two cases, I think, that paid out. One was about 600 in legal fees, was almost certainly just a couple of letters going backwards and forwards and another one that paid out with a couple of grand. That is an absolutely normal, 100% acceptable, unexpected, you know, case history from a dentist. It really is. And the dentist rang me in a bit of a panic that his claims history would count against him. And when I got it, I was like, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is fact. It’s probably below the law of averages in terms of the actual activity that we saw that actually led to a complaint, a legal a legal case, rather.

[01:02:15] What percentage of dentists do you refuse to insure?

[01:02:20] Eye. That’s incredibly small. In fact. I can’t actually remember, to be honest. I can’t honestly remember one that we’ve not at least got a prize for now. Obviously, sometimes the price is not what they want.

[01:02:35] What was the highest price you’ve heard? God. God, let God go on me.

[01:02:41] It’s over. Six figures looking for it that way. And I don’t mean £9,624, 84 PPI. I mean over on the ground.

[01:02:54] Well.

[01:02:55] I mean, the surgical in the surgical world, I think the largest one we ever saw and we did place it was about 238 ground 240 ground. It was something.

[01:03:05] Like that for insurance.

[01:03:07] Insurance? Yeah. Yeah.

[01:03:10] What about the largest claim that the payout. The largest payout.

[01:03:14] Of just the dentist. It’s not high. You know, we very, very, very rarely see it go above 100 grand. Very rarely. We’ve had thousands of people apply to us. And I can’t remember going above 200. Hmm. I can’t remember. That’s not to say there aren’t cases out there, because, of course there are. But we haven’t seen them above 200. I can’t remember one being above 200. There’s a lot on ten grand in dentistry. It’s much more frequent than it is sizeable. In the surgical world. It tends to be the other way around. You know, orthopaedics might not get a claim for five, six years and then it’ll be 50,000. So it’s the surgical market is very, very different to them. And the dental market, you tend to not know what’s coming until it hits you. Whereas dentistry, you probably do know what’s coming and it’s a little bit more pain free. Very different dynamics, though.

[01:04:08] Gary. You know, you’ve got we’ve got this I mean, I don’t know if you see it this way, but me and a lot of dentists see this way, that regulation and litigation is out of control and it’s definitely not correct. Yeah. And I know you’re in the industry, so you’re navigating those those seas, right? But if you were the king of the world and you could change one or two things. What would be one or two things you would change to make this whole process, let’s face it, benefit patients as well as dentist. Patients aren’t getting the best right now because we’re all being so hyper defensive.

[01:04:44] No, no, you’re absolutely right. I mean, I think there is no doubt there is a large amount of what we would call defensive dentistry, but in practice, it stifles innovation. It stifles the progression of certain treatments because dentists don’t want to be the one that takes the leap and does something new or slightly outside the boundary, because it may well be that the food on the back of it and they don’t have a leg to stand on. And that’s that’s bad. That’s bad. Nobody wants that to happen. What would I do? I would make it I would give the ability to the lawyers to sue the other side for legal fees, for legal costs. That’s what I’d do, because that would make a lot of lawyers people.

[01:05:23] Wouldn’t that be a worry, though? Wouldn’t that be a worry, though? Because then the patient wouldn’t wouldn’t, you know, a patient who feels like they’ve been wronged?

[01:05:31] It’s not yeah. It’s not the patient. I wouldn’t it wouldn’t be the patient getting getting the getting the getting the cost. It would be the lawyers. Because that would make the lawyers. That would make the lawyers think about taking the case on. In other words, they’ll take well, that’s as I said before, I’m not advocating for a minute that a patient shouldn’t have a right of recourse. Of course they should. But equally, I we are appalled by some of these absolute fishing trips that we see where there is clearly not in there. And the lawyers are just simply trying to build a case to get some money. It’s as simple as that. And there are a number of those, obviously.

[01:06:02] That’s very interesting, isn’t it? Because that should be the counterbalance.

[01:06:06] Exactly. It just needs to sharpen the focus.

[01:06:08] The counterbalance to no win, no fee. If you’re going to involve yourself with no win, no fee lawyering, you should have that risk as well. On top of the notion.

[01:06:20] That there is there’s no risk. There is no risk. You know, what they’ll do is if they see that, if quite often the process is, they’ll they’ll put they’ll put a letter saying, we want to see the notes. The notes come back. It’s very easy to find something in the notes where you can say, oh, that’s not quite right. It’s not quite done. It’s also very easy for a patient to say, I didn’t I didn’t understand. It’s very easy to say that. So the onus is very, very much on the surgical and the medical, dental profession to make sure that the patient fully, fully understand everything. And that’s very difficult sometimes because the patient would just go, oh, I was bamboozled, didn’t get it. So. Lawyers rely heavily on that lawyer. The lawyers. The lawyers. We rely heavily on the fact that, you know, sometimes that no matter how often you’ve had it explained to you, you’ve tick the box and you understand it. You just didn’t. So I think I think that just needs to be just that cap, I guess just to stop this stream of cases that I’ve got no substance whatsoever. I’m not a genius. I’ve got to come up with the idea that will do it. And one day somebody will hopefully. But it can’t keep rising unchecked. I think I think I think I’m right in saying the biggest single cost in the NHS is the legal payouts and again not saying for a minute a lot of justified, maybe a lot of them are, but equally there’s probably a lot of them that aren’t and it just has to be a bit more of a balance. It really does.

[01:07:44] You. Well, it’s been a massive pleasure understanding your health a little bit more. We we tend to finish on the same two questions on this podcast. We didn’t do the whole life story bit, but you can at least end to end it in the way that we normally end it. Go fancy dinner party.

[01:08:06] Okay.

[01:08:08] Three guests, dead or alive. Who do you have?

[01:08:12] I would have that lovely lady who is called, I can’t remember her surname, Sabine, who used to drive vans around the Nürburgring. Top Gear Ace because I think what she achieved in her world. I’ve been to the Nürburgring many times and I’ve been to her restaurant many times, and she’s a legend in those parts, and I never had the pleasure of meeting her. So I would love I’d love to have her at the table in her restaurant. She definitely be one of them.

[01:08:40] She passed away.

[01:08:42] She did? Yeah. I think I think about 12 months ago. And we were in a restaurant this year only only eight weeks ago. And her legend lives on all over the walls. And I did meet her mother, so that’s as close as I got. But yes, she definitely one of them. I’ve got to say, Sir Alex Ferguson, because of what he did over such a long period of time, which the longer we go without success at United, the more we appreciate what he did and on what he sustained and what I do as a third one. Tony Blair. Tony Blair Yeah, I think all my questions will end off at Tony Blair, but I think that would be absolutely fascinating. Can I have a fourth? Of course. Bill Clinton, because I have heard that if you can get a and after dinner speech with Bill Clinton, you absolutely have to move heaven and earth to get there, because apparently as an orator and as a as a raconteur, he’s absolutely unbelievable. So, yes, I think that would be my four.

[01:09:47] And Tony Blair. Tony Blair. I’ve got to you know, at the end of the day, history remembered him about Iraq. But yes, recently when I’ve been listening to him on that Restless Politics podcast, I think you’ve seen that you feel like now nowadays you’ve got such a low standard of politician that Blair seems like a little like intellectual genius.

[01:10:12] Exactly. That’s exactly how I feel about it. It’s like I think somebody said to me about six months before the the perfect storm. Can you imagine it if Boris Johnson and Donald Trump both get in at the same time? Well, don’t need to mention it, do we? But yeah, you look back on Tony Blair now, and maybe he’s maybe his place in history will change as time goes by. And this almost procession of imbeciles keeps coming to us on both sides of the Atlantic.

[01:10:41] And the final question is more of a personal one. You’re on your deathbed. You’ve got your nearest and dearest around you. Three pieces of advice for them for the world.

[01:10:58] Don’t think about work 24 hours a day. I used to, and it’s nothing wrong with being passionate about what you do, but it shouldn’t ever consume you. Family life is incredibly important. It goes by unbelievably quickly. I speak as someone that took I think we talked before. My son is now in America at university. We’re missing him like Matt. And you look back on all the years you grew up and it’s like, you know, did we really appreciate those as much as we could? I think we did. But maybe we could have spent even more time as a family together. That’s definitely number one. No matter how bad something seems, things do get better. That’s an old cliche, but it’s absolutely true. You know, I’ve had challenging periods in my life and I remember them very well because there’s not been too many, fortunately. But I honestly feel that I’m much, much, much stronger as a person having come out the other side. When we started PMP, we were lambasted left, right and centre by defence organisations and other people as well. I was really tough. I left a very good solid job to do that. That was really, really a struggle for me and the fact that we came out the other side, the fact that we built something that lists to this day and I’m very, very proud of that. It’s really made me much tougher and an a stronger person.

[01:12:16] But the best company. Were you. Were you in finance?

[01:12:20] No, not at all. My my sort of jump into the finance sector was was really with someone that understood the insurance market. I had no clue. So I was the I was the gateway to the to the surgeons, basically.

[01:12:34] W difficult not being from that industry, right?

[01:12:38] Oh, massively. I had to learn the difference between claims made and claims occurrence. Like to learn all the sort of intricacies of the Financial Conduct Authority. I actually do all the the courses that are mandatory to become part of a regulated insurance company. Actually, to all of them. It was very difficult because I’ve been extremely comfortable in the aesthetics arena for well, by that stage probably 12, 13 years. So it was a gamble. And I think that’s potentially one of the other things that I advise on as well. If you see something and and everything is telling you, you know, if you don’t do that, you will regret it, then do it and it’s better to do it. And it may be not quite work than forever. Think, Oh, I wish I’d done that. You know, leaving that very solid job with an implant company that I really enjoyed was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. But if I hadn’t have done it, I would have regretted it, and I certainly wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. So, yes, it was tough. Yes, it was brave, some people would say, but it was definitely the right thing to do. And every bit of me was telling me to do it and I did. But a lot of people sometimes stay cosy. They stay in their own comfy environment, and sometimes looking outside of that isn’t a bad thing at all. Even if you end up going back, even if you end up, you make the job doesn’t work, go back.

[01:13:57] So that’s the critical that’s the critical point, isn’t it? You can go back if you want to. Yeah. You don’t think that and.

[01:14:05] You don’t know. And I think my fourth bit of advice is never burn a bridge, because I honestly don’t think I’ve ever burnt a bridge in my life. So it’s amazing how often people, circumstances, companies come round again and you see these people storming out of offices, swearing and you know, F-you, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. And before you know it, fate conspires to put you right back in in their sights again. So I’ve never I’ve never been a bridge with anybody. And I don’t intend to either, because life’s too short. And certainly the industry, I mean, it’s very small.

[01:14:39] Amazing. All great advice. Really was. Gary, I hope we get we get to talk to each other again on this subject because actually, we just just sort of introduced it from from the insurance perspective. But we’ve got all the other parts of this, the dentist themselves, the legal perspective, the regulator. There’s so much to unpack there. And I want to I want to really thank you and pay tribute to you for for first of all, doing PMP, a pioneering move like that as a fellow business owner. It’s always so, you know, the fear of going into something new. And, you know, it really is agony. And ecstasy is this ecstasy of getting it right and and the pain of it, but also your move into dentistry and how interesting that’s been.

[01:15:30] And I’ve loved it. I’ve loved it. And I, you know, I dentist have very different decisions as we touched on in a little while ago. But you know, this dentist now, I can count as my friends because they are very, very engaged and very, very professional profession. And I would say, arguably, I enjoy dentistry more than I do the surgical world. And that’s that’s a statement from someone that spent a lot more years in the surgical world. I just think dentists are probably a little bit a little bit more engaged than surgeons. If you wanted a very broad statement.

[01:16:05] Does that does that chair side manner piece, isn’t there? There’s a lot of surgeons who don’t have that bedside manner piece, but dentists have to be able to talk. I think you’re right.

[01:16:14] I think you’re right. And the fact you could do you’ll deal with as many people in in one day as some surgeons do in a couple of weeks. That’s right. So I think that’s a very large element to it as well.

[01:16:24] Massive. Thanks for being on the show, Gary. As I say, it’s lovely to continue. Thank you so.

[01:16:30] Much. Very much. I hope so, too. Thanks a lot.

[01:16:34] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:16:50] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:17:04] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:17:15] And don’t forget our six star rating.


This week’s short solo show explores a potentially transformational strategy you can put to work in your practice with as little as five minutes a day.

IT genius Jeff Sutherland first explored the value of a short daily team meeting in his book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.

Prav’s been a big fan since reading the book shortly after its publication in 2014 and has since made daily scrums (AKA huddles) a feature at his group of practices and marketing agency. 

In this episode, Prav looks at the origin of scrum as a software development tool, discussing how it can be adapted to a dental setting to transform the working week and boost business growth.



In This Episode

00.47 – The daily scrum – an intro

03.00 – Scrum in practice

07.52 – Scrum in dentistry

12.27 – How to scrum

26.14 – In summary


About Prav Solanki

Prav Solanki is an entrepreneur and dental marketer who has purchased, developed and exited a successful group of clinics. He is the director of The Fresh dental marketing and growth agency and founder of Leadflo—an advanced lead management system for dental practices.  

[00:00:00] I spend a lot of time with my team in the morning, seeing them up, figuring out what needs doing. Executing my delegation strategy. Having my team members delegate to other more junior team members. But every day that happens. And let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly imagine running several businesses without some kind of daily huddle.

[00:00:29] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:47] Hello and welcome to the Dental latest podcast. Today is another solo episode. This topic of today often leaves practitioners divided in opinion of whether they think the subject matter of what I’m going to share today is the right way to run the business. The wrong way to run your business. An inconvenient way to. But before I talk into that, I think what I’d like you to do is just reflect for a moment and think about growing your business and think about having a team around you to help you grow your business. And that team or those team members can either be given a role and they go off on their own and they fulfil those roles really well in helping you on your growth. Well, they kind of self-manage. They go off in their direction in your business. Gross. Okay. Or the alternative scenario is being surrounded by those team members who you connect with on a daily basis. You share your goals with them on a daily basis. You talk about how perhaps you know the things that went wrong yesterday or the things that could go well today, every single day, and how you can learn from them. Your team members may be connecting with your patients in a way that you maybe don’t connect with your patients, and they could possibly feed back to you and teach you things about your business on a daily basis. And if you haven’t guessed it already, what we’re going to talk about today is the Daily Huddle Scrum, The Daily Stand-Up, the morning meeting.

[00:02:30] Call it whatever you want, but it’s that concept of planning every day. It’s that concept of sharing with your team every day. And it’s a concept of developing your leadership skills as a leader every single day and having a team around you that are driven towards the purpose, the goal, the vision that you’ve set out. In my businesses, at least, the majority of the we have a daily huddle. In the majority of my business is not and not with Democrats yet. I call it we call it scrum. And I guess, you know, that originates, you know, in the soft certainly in the software development world. You know, we’ve we’ve built and designed and created quite a few different bits and pieces of software for the industry, be it the the support platform, the, the is the company used. Mentally. You know, that was an idea that was borne by clinicians who had ideas. And then they came to me and I directed a software development team to create their dream. Write this port, this portal that allows clinicians to give secure. My software development team has built our own CRM system that manages thousands of inquiries on a weekly basis and automates that and helps patients outpatient workups, clinics convert or elevate their conversion rates. Right. All of that stuff started with a line of code.

[00:04:03] It started with an idea for I’m surrounded by a team of software developers that I direct I meet with on a daily basis. I learn about what their goals. And then drives them accordingly. And what’s really interesting is that before I started adopting the Scrum methodology in my business, right, and if you want to learn about the huddle and its foundations and its origins and more about the benefits of it and much more detail, and then I’m going to share with you today. I read a book by a guy called Jeff Silverman, I think is something likes from the arts of doing twice the amount of work in half the time or something like that. And if you just look up Jeff Sutherland, it’s a really cool book. So I saw inspiration from that book when I started utilising. Growth in my business on a daily basis. Right. And it was actually it was my lead developer, James, who pushed me into reading this book. And then I saw it was just one of those moments where you think, why the fuck have I not been doing this since day one? Right. And, and so then I went back to James said, look, this is a great idea. And it’s like been trying to tell you for the ages, but let’s do it. And so the concept was that we had a team of software engineers who went off on their own. We made their own mistakes.

[00:05:32] They came back. This piece of code failed. That doesn’t work. This doesn’t work. And guess what? It was taken as ages to write any code that produced any valuable functional software. And then we brought the team together and all we did is as a team, we decided, what’s our goal for the next two weeks? What do we want to achieve? Right? What is it in this piece of software? So we broke everything down into micro two week tasks or two week chunks of it. We split them up into tasks. And every day we met and we discussed what every team member was working on, which pieces are code they were writing, and what the impact of that would be and whether we’d be, at the end of the day, towards that two week goal and everything that the whole team was doing, the software engineers, they were working. That two week goal. What happened as software development, cadence or speed went through the roof. We started producing software that was working. The team started collaborating more and working together more to solve problems. So instead of taking a day to solve a problem, they were done in an hour. Because, you know, four I’s are better than two and all of that. And the end result was a happier team. But what I noticed as a business owner is it helps me to connect to my team better. It made me a better leader.

[00:06:57] It helped me to identify the little personality clashes in our team, how to deal with them. It also helped me to identify the lazy mode folks in my team who are no longer in my team. Because when you’re talking every day, when you’re meeting every day, and when you are discussing what is ahead of you that day and when you’re discussing what did you achieve yesterday? Did you achieve what you set out to achieve yesterday? There’s no way a bloody high. And so it’s great to get real clarity on who’s doing what. Who’s pulling that way? Who’s contributing to that angle? And who’s in there for just a free ride. So when I used Scrum in software development, it really, really opened up doors for me in terms of my own business growth. Let’s go back to the business of dentistry now. Right. If you’re one of those practice owners who says the huddle will never work for me, there’s not enough time in the day. Staff get in at different times of the day. Our patients are already in at that time. People won’t come early because of childcare, right? Sponsored than one decent excuses you can use, right? There’s some practices that managed to do it and some. Smash yourself. The question, why is that? And by the end of today’s podcast. Let’s make a case that is probably worth giving it a shot, and I’d like to make a case that you will achieve.

[00:08:32] More rapid business growth. A happier time, happier patients. And you’ll be able to spot opportunities faster than you ever after in the past, because you’re meeting with your team every day. You’re discussing opportunities, pitfalls. How you can fix problems and you’re leading that team and connecting better with them every day. So for those of you who have employed the hotel or already in a practice that uses the daily huddle, I think there’s a few key benefits that you’ll know already. Right. I’m going to share it with you. It reduces errors, having a daily huddle and talking about what went wrong yesterday and how we’re going to prevent that from going wrong ever again. And looking at lab work two or three days ahead and looking at problem patients that are coming through the door and looking at nervous patients who are perhaps coming through the door that might need a little bit more attention and looking for opportunities when patients are coming towards the end of treatment or an opportunity where a patient’s walking into a practice for the first time ever, for whatever reason, whatever whatever things you’ve discussed in your huddle. Right. So you’re one thing. It reduces the amount of mistakes you make over. And if you’re in one of those practices that continues to make the same mistake over and over and over again. But you don’t share it with your team. You don’t strategize how you can fix it.

[00:10:12] You don’t delegate or discuss how possibly somebody else would take responsibility or ownership of that problem. And you carry on making those mistakes. The one thing that it really does for me, I mentioned this earlier gives you complete transparency on what your team are doing. An accountability is wonderful for teambuilding, absolutely fantastic for teambuilding and morale booster. It improves efficiency. That goes without saying. It allows you to scale your business a lot quicker and improves customer service. So with all of those benefits, it only makes sense that you at least give it a shot. Like give it some consideration. So what is the huddle? It’s a meeting that happens first thing in the morning, 10 to 15 minutes. It doesn’t need to take that long. But we need all of the team fully engaged. And I say usually start that day with some positivity, some affirmations, your core values, essentially. Why do we exist? Why are we amazing? And what is our purpose? Clinic, then go on to talk about what went wrong yesterday. How does it see how we can fix that in the future? What processes and systems we can put into place to prevent that happening again. And what does today look like? What does amazing look like today? Right. If today was amazing, what would it be? Yeah. Is it getting three Google reviews, having, you know, really happy patients? Is it getting that love working on what was amazing look like today? Okay.

[00:11:55] And what are those steps towards? Happy and amazing day in between? All of that is spotting opportunities, problems and your planning ahead. And every single day that you do a huddle with your team, you are making marginal gains in your. Even if you’re making those tiny 0.1% gains in multiple aspects of your business over time, your business is just going to grow. Okay, so let’s kick off with the first part of the Hodl. What I truly believe that you should be doing is talking about what your core values are, why you exist. And making some positive statements about the. Okay. So, you know, whatever that may be in your practice, right? So here are changing faces. Our ethos is about providing exceptional dentistry, exceptional care, and exceptional customer service. And every single patient that walks into our practice deserves the very, very best that we can do. And every single patient that walks into our practice will walk out of their practice and telephone friends because of the exceptional service that every single one of us deliver. Yeah, we are absolutely amazing in what we do and we should all be really proud of the smiles that we deliver at that point. Possibly share some positive news to what we would do as we just run through one or two Google reviews that were left yesterday, a video testimonial that was handed over yesterday, a Facebook review.

[00:13:43] Oh, Mr. Smith said this. Isn’t that amazing, Joel? Well, good on getting that review and team. Fantastic on delivering that amazing experience in service. Right? Start your huddle off with a bit of positivity, right? Talk about then the good stuff from yesterday. Specifically treatment fun. So reviews that you got, testimonials, referrals from friends and family members, social media mentions, comments, those sort of things. Positive patient experiences. Summarise the good stuff from yesterday, then talk about the bad stuff. Okay. Complaints. Team issues. How we could have prevented that any mistakes we made. Was there any late lap work? How did that happen? Poor planet, patient issues. Emergencies, whatever that was. But just briefly summarise. The bad stuff. Yes. Okay. So the what went wrong? What’s really, really important when you’re discussing this in the hotel is figuring out why that thing went wrong and discussing as a team and making sure as a business leader, you give your team a voice. Okay. Certainly in my businesses, I don’t want to be the guy coming up with all the ideas. I don’t want to be the person who’s put in all the drafting and figuring it out and doing all the direction stuff. Because I’m surrounded by people who are ten times better, a hundred times better than me. But doing what they do. Okay. So for me, it’s more about the home and not the house. So there are some when we talk about the plans to open it up to the team, how could we prevent that from happening yesterday? What could have we done? Could have.

[00:15:42] We called the patient ahead of their appointment and warned them that, you know, we’ve started late today and there’s likely to be a ten minute delay or 15 minute delay, which it’s making its way throughout the day. Yeah, we could have done that. Mrs. Smith It was then at 4:00, you ended up getting seen at 430 was pretty cheesed off. If we’d have called her at lunchtime and said, Look, these things look like they’re running late today and, you know, your appointment may be a few minutes late or maybe a little bit later than normal. How are we going to handle that? Right. It may be that you introduce a policy because of that. They say, you know what, if it’s time they’re more than 50 minutes late, somebody has to walk into reception, apologise to that patient. And give him a gift voucher for Amazon and tell them how much we value their time and we’re really sorry. And this isn’t how we normally operate. Right. Over the Budget Office. Let your team contribute to the great ideas. And you see great ideas come out. Okay. So what went wrong yesterday? But more importantly, what can you do to fix? Then the next thing I like to think about in the huddle, after you’ve done the good, the bad, and then what you know today.

[00:17:01] Right, the follow it. Okay. Are there any call backs in the day ahead? Any patients need following up three patients who came in yesterday and had, you know, infarct surgery? Well, any nervous patients that attended the practice for the first time? Are there any treatment funds that need following or chasing today? Were there any FTAs yesterday that we need to follow up on? And this is really important, and this is where I ask yourself this question Have you ever had a patient? In the morning and then you scrambling around for the lab work. You realise it hasn’t arrived. So what happened in your practice? I know a lot. I know a lot of clinicians would be nodding their head like, okay, but if in that huddle you give one team member the responsibility for looking of lab work two plus days ahead and reporting on lab work two plus days ahead, and if there’s no sign of it and there’s no communication about it, but we get in touch with the lab. We realise very early on that there was no way that lab was going to arrive. By the time Mr. Smith comes in, in 48 hours time, you’d better rearrange Mr. Smith’s appointment, because there’s a downside to doing that. Pissing off Mr. Smith when he turns up having council half a day of work ready to come in for some kind of surgery that was absolutely nervous about only to be told, Oh, I’m sorry.

[00:18:32] He love works. Not here. The hotel prevent a whole bunch of disasters. Right. And you know what? If that does happen and your lab works late and all the rest of it, you sit down with your team in the hotel and you talk about how could have we prevented that? What could have we done? What could have been done to save us the embarrassment? What could have how could the communication be let back into the rough? We know this love always delivers life. Do we need to think about changing lamps? Do we need to think about perhaps booking the appointments a little bit? You know, giving the patient a little bit more time when they come in, whatever that may be. You figure out a process and a strategy that moves forward. You never make that mistake again. You focus on fixing the mistakes and problems. And as a business owner, I mention this all the time to my clients. I’m a problem solver as a business owner and a problem solver, and I solve to fix problems and my team help me solve and fix fix problems. It’s no more complicated than that. And you get really good at solving very, very specific problems. And with the huddle, when you’re talking about problems ahead, you become even better at fixing those so that your business will smooth. So after you’ve been through your follow ups.

[00:19:51] There are opportunities for you to identify. Now, when you run that data hoddle, there’s usually one person who will call him the Scrum Master, and we’re running scrum like who runs that day and we tend to base it off the dailies. Right. Here were the patients coming in today. What are the possible opportunities ahead? So what I would ordinarily do is work my way through that Davis and say, okay, is there any white space in the valley? Today. Is there any white space in the diary ahead tomorrow that we could look at doing some follow ups, callbacks and squeezing some local patients in? Right. So there are any gaps in the day. Are there any opportunities for testimonials? Right. Whatever that is. Is it a video testimonial? Is it a Facebook review? Is it a Google review? Who’s going to ask that patient for a review? Who’s the person who’s got the deepest relationship with that patient? Who’s that patient going to be connecting with? So in the huddle you say, All right, graph. You’re going to ask John for review when he comes in at 2:00 because he’s your mate. When we get to the huddle tomorrow, surely the question is going to be, so did you ask John for the review? What did you do? I left with you. Congratulations. Well done. That comes into the positivity section. No effort to hide that because he’s got to ask John for a review at 2:00.

[00:21:17] Okay. And if it doesn’t, we’re talking about it tomorrow. What went wrong? Are we going to need to follow that review or are we going to need to call that issue? What other opportunities can lie ahead for us, if you will, looking at the day list? Right. Some of us operate that day list and it hits us. As if he is patient by patients that they list as nothing while list of names for ends of hearing into your ecosystem as that time ticks along. Some of us look at that day list and see what we’ve got ahead of us. We look at the little hurdles we need to jump over. We look at the positive opportunities that we’ve got ahead. Right. So what other opportunities are there out there? Social media selfies, Smile reveals content opportunities as well as the reviews everybody talks about as that patient got a birthday coming up. With that patient come back off holiday. Was there, you know, bereavement in your family? Was there anything? Right. Anything. Is there something specific about any of these patients we should be bringing up? Well, Mr. Smith walks in on his birthday when we say, See that patient? Happy birthday, Mr. Smith. Yeah. Welcome to Change of Faces. If you take a moment to go to, actually and while I’m talking about birthdays, if you take a moment to go to the changing faces dentistry Facebook page and.

[00:22:47] Look of one of the recent posters. See that mark north of. And it’s a lady who came in and have full arch implant dentistry. 50th 60th birthday. I can’t remember that. Right. But what did we do that day? We got some balloons with their age on it. We got us some flowers. And the first thing that happened when that patient walked through the door, she got a birthday greeting from all of I would see how were we able to do that? Because we. Two days, three days before, and we’re able to make that patient feel really special. So what are the opportunities in your day list that can help you get more stuff for you reviews, testimonials, selfies, reveals, and all the rest of it. What are the opportunities in your day list where you can possibly elevate your level of customer service? Elevate the experience of patients? Right. Share that with you to think about what the opportunities are. Then we like to talk about special needs. Okay. Is there any nervous patients walking through the door? You know, Mr. Smith, who’s avoided the dentist for the last ten years and absolutely terrified at the thought. Walking through the door. Perhaps we know Mr. Smith’s coming in at 2:00 today, and I’m going to go and open the door for Mr. Smith as he comes in. I’m going to come from behind the reception area. I may even hold his hand and take him to the, you know, the seating area.

[00:24:22] Offer him a drink. Get down to high level. Sit down with him. Tell him everything’s going to be okay. Congratulate him on making the effort of looking up the courage to come and see us today and telling him he’s not alone. And we’ve got hundreds of patients like him. Maybe you’ve got somebody in your team who is super duper. We’ve noticed patients. So we identify them on the list and we say, Sarah, we got one of your specials in today. Make sure you give them the red carpet service. Okay. So those special needs nervous patients. What about referrals from friends and family members or another dentist? Right. That’s another opportunity, but it’s a special need right there. We can just sort. Talk to that patient about that with. About that friend, about what they’ve we’ve done for them. Okay. That’s okay. We’ve all got those patients. Okay. We’ve all got those people in our businesses who are slow. Okay. Those was the moment that opponents over, they die out of that door before going to the reception desk and we get sick and then we chase them. Right. If you know who they are, if you know the usual suspects. Right. You can you can keep your eye on that. If it’s a sizeable deposit, you need to take off the pay of patient at that appointment. You can either all forget about it because no one’s mentioned it.

[00:25:52] It just happens to be in the patient’s thinking. Those or you can bring it up in the hallway and go, Hey, mister, Mr. Woods has got to pay £7,000 to. Our Fish Treatment fund. So can we make sure we pay attention to that and collect that today? So that is another one, which is especially that we like to. And that’s it, really. That is ultimately your daily huddle. Okay. It’s a relatively short podcast, but I think it warranted this conversation because I’m having more and more conversations with business owners who are divided on the benefits of the hotel and just don’t know whether or not they should be doing it right. So I’m just, you know, speaking to the converted, if you already do it. And what we’ll say is whatever excuse you’ve got, you can find a way to implement and execute this. If growing your business is important not to you, change your start time, move all your patients 10 minutes ahead and you think, Crikey, all of that clinical time I’m going to lose, right? Pay your team to participate in the whole. Yeah. But it’s during their time that they’re getting paid for and that you’re not getting paid from clinicians. I know in my team every morning in do I spend a lot of time meeting with my team? I hate meetings for the safety meetings. I spend a lot of time with my team in the more.

[00:27:26] Seeing them all, figuring out what needs to execute in my delegation strategy, having my team members delegate to other more junior team members. So for every day that happens and let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly imagine running several businesses without some kind of daily. And then moving on from there. You know, we have moving on from there. You’ve got to be strategic meetings and things like that. What’s the next two weeks Sprint looks like for this project? And so. And that comes back to the, you know, the pulse of the business rate, the meeting rhythm. So you got your daily means, you got your retraining, you’ve got your monthly meetings, right? You discussing different things at those meetings. But let me tell you, I’m that guy who hates meetings for the sake of meetings if there’s no execution of the. I’m not interested. That’s medium for today, guys. So. Thank you for tuning in. If you’ve got any value out of it and you know, you you’re not a huddle person and I’ve converted you or changed your mind, please leave something in the reviews or in the social media. Post the payments that are going to share or somehow reach out to me and let me know that you’re going to give it a crack, because it means a lot to know that if I’ve shared a piece of content and somebody has gone ahead and implemented it, that’s wicked. That will make my day.

[00:28:56] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[00:29:12] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.