The monday Morning Quote #177

“I’ve often said, the only thing standing between me and greatness is me.”

Woody Allen

“Making a difference” Joanna Taylor & Associates retreat 2012

Following the successful retreat at Wydale Hall last year Jo Taylor invites all members of the dental team to the retreat for 2012.

Full info below and to get a booking form go to Jo’s website here.

RollyBrush – Does anyone know if / how well it works?

I’ve seen things like this in dispensing machines in motorway service stations and treated them with suspicion – but  then I was slow to take interproximal brushes on board being a “floss is the only thing that works” man. So when I saw this on Marty Jablow’s blog I was interested.

If you’ve tried it let me know what you think.

“Irish takeover for British teeth”

From Wiltshire Business Online.

12:00pm Friday 20th July 2012 in News
Dublin-based Smiles Dental today announced its purchase of the debt of UK dental practice group James Hull Associates (JHA), with a view to take equity control in the coming weeks. The deal will see Smiles Dental take control of JHA’s 70-plus practices across the UK.
Smiles Dental was established in Ireland in 2005 where it now operates 17 practices. The business was founded to provide specialist teeth whitening services, but has expanded to offer a full dental provision.
Last year the company treated more than 150,000 patients and is now the largest privately-owned provider of dental care in Ireland, with 75 dentists under contract and more than 100 nursing and administration staff.
The deal with JHA represents further expansion into this much larger market. JHA has more than 20 years experience in providing high quality private dental care in the UK, and the merger of the two businesses represents a substantial opportunity for growth.
Emmet O’Neill, CEO of Smiles Dental, said: “We wanted to become involved with JHA because we felt that our two companies had much in common and that the partnership would strengthen both businesses.
“JHA is a strong and well respected company with dental excellence at the heart of its offering. Our hope is that we can use our experience and expertise to work with the team at JHA and continue to grow.
“We’re now focused on identifying how we can make our combined organisations an efficient, profitable company which is well placed to face the challenging conditions of today’s market and which people continue to enjoy working for.”

I wish Emmet & the people from Smiles well but I am concerned about the constant juggling of the corporate market in the UK where stability can hardly be said to be the order of the day. Time will tell what happens, but my view of buy outs / takeovers (whatever you want to call it) was formed by watching the way UK  Estate Agencies went in the late 80’s and early 90’s – but hey what do I know? James Hull (the business) has attracted speculation since its inception just take a look at the financial pages.



Early 2009

& later 2009


June 2012

2 days ago

The Monday Morning Quote #176

“The beginning of greatness is to be different.

And the beginning of failure is to be orthodox.

Big ideas come from the unconscious.

This is true in art, in science, and in advertising.

But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant.

Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.”

David Ogilvy

Critical Illness Claim Statistics 2011 – Do You Have Sufficient Cover?

One of the questions that I ask my clients is about Critical Illness & sickness cover – I have no pecuniary interest in this subject but would hate to see a client and family suffer.

So I when I saw this from the always interesting newsletter from Ray & Graeme at Rutherford Wilkinson I thought I’d share it.

Critical Illness Claim Statistics 2011 – Do You Have Sufficient Cover?

Today, we are more acutely aware of critical illnesses and their impact it has on loved ones. Many of us have suffered the heartache of a loved one suffering a critical illness and the tough times that it brings with it.

An issue that we also sometimes appear to be less aware of is ensuring we have sufficient cover for ourselves and loved ones in the event that we may fall victim to a critical illness.

Some find it a hard topic to think about. After all, it proves we are mortal and a critical illness could strike at any time. This being said, in the event that it did happen, would you find that you have the financial resources to support you through the illness and provide for your family too?

Many people of all ages suffer with critical illnesses, such as heart attacks and strokes, and manage to overcome them. With advances in medical technology we have found mortality rates have decreased.

Critical Illness Can Strike Any Time

Whilst many will feel that a critical illness is reserved for those in their older years, the truth is that it can strike at any time and at any age. The average age for critical illness payouts is in the 40 to 49 years age bracket, but insurers have shown they are paying out for claims to people under 25.

To put into perspective the issues surrounding a critical illness striking at any time, we only need to look at the facts:

  • In 2008, 130 women a day, on average, were diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK – 47,700 for the year
  • Cancer will affect over 33% of people during their lifetime and someone is diagnosed with cancer every 2 minutes in the UK alone
  • 53,000 deaths a year in the UK are attributed to strokes and it is one of the highest mortality causes

Cancer and Heart Disease are two of the main critical illnesses affecting hundreds of thousands in the UK every year. They are both debilitating illnesses that have high mortality rates and also require long periods of absence from work for recovery for those that do survive.

Data Source: Friends Life

Financial Facts
Over the last few years, the UK population has begun to struggle financially. In part, this has been due to the banking crisis that struck in 2008, a global financial crisis that also hit at the heart of the average person.

Jobs have become harder to come by and incomes have become stretched as people struggle to keep up with financial commitments.

This means that 15 million people in the UK (around 25% of the population) do not have adequate savings to last until the weekend should they find they did not have any money. Over one in three Britons would not have enough savings in the case of emergency either.

If the above sounds damaging then it may surprise you to find that around 24 million people (40% of the population) in the United Kingdom are not saving at this time and just under ten million (16% of the population) have never started saving.

Data Source: Friends Life

Do You Have Sufficient Critical Illness Cover?

This question can be broken down into two sections, the first being those that don’t have cover and those that do.

If you do not have any critical illness cover, what would happen in the event that you suffered a critical illness?

Do you have adequate financial savings to cover a longer time period off work while you recover and recuperate, or even to support your family in a time of loss?

Are you comfortable with using your savings to support you during a critical illness and potentially being left with no financial backing upon your recovery?

The majority of dentists and doctors that we meet do have income protection cover in place so at least they know that they will have a monthly income were they to be off work for a prolonged period.

If you do have critical illness cover, does the policy give you the financial peace of mind that you will gain an adequate financial payout resulting from a claim?

Would you have enough money from this claim that you will be able to cover your financial commitments during the time period of your recovery and rehabilitation before going back to work?

Let us review the claims reports of two companies that offer critical illness cover and see their experiences on claims:

Aviva – 2011

Claims at a glance:

  • Paid out 94.1% of Critical Illness claims for 2011
  • Paid out on 1,568 claims which came to a total of £113.8 million
  • £73,591 per claim was paid on average
  • The highest payouts for males was in the 40 to 49 years age bracket at 42.9%
  • The highest payouts for females was in the 40 to 49 years age bracket at 52.9%
  • A higher percentage of claims were received for females under 30 years (2.8%) than females aged sixty and above (1.1%)
  • Total percentage of claims declined – 4.9%
  • 92% of claims related to 5 critical illnesses – Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and Benign Brain Tumour
  • Discovery of material non-disclosure at the time plan was taken out that caused claim to be declined as a percentage – 1%

The majority of claims were for (both sexes) between 2005 and 2011:

  • Cancer, 65%
  • Heart attack, 10.5%
  • Stroke, 6.5%

Some specific claims were:

  • Female, MS – age 24 at claim, £106,654 paid
  • Male, Heart attack – age 41 at claim, £80,748 paid
  • Male, Benign brain tumour, age 37 at claim, £325,192 paid

Source: Aviva Critical Illness Claim Report

Legal & General – 2011
Claims at a glance:

  • Paid out 93.2% of Critical Illness claims for 2011
  • Paid out on 2,784 claims which came to a total of £177 million
  • £63,573 per claim was paid on average
  • 54% of claims paid were under £50,000
  • 26% of claims resulted in a payout less than £25,000
  • 28% resulted in a payout of between £25,001 and £50,000
  • Only 1% paid out above £100,000
  • The highest payouts for males was in the 51 to 60 years age bracket at 37.2%
  • The highest payouts for females was in the 41 to 50 years age bracket at 45.6%
  • Average age of claimant (both sexes), 43 years
  • Total percentage of claims declined – 4.2% (125 claims)
  • Discovery of material non-disclosure at the time plan was taken out that caused claim to be declined as a percentage – 2.6% (77 claims)

The majority of claims were for (both sexes) between 2005 and 2011:

  • Cancer, 47.2%
  • Terminal  Illness, 23.9%
  • Heart attack, 7.6%
  • Multiple Sclerosis, 4.2%

Legal & General also offers children’s critical illness cover as a way of giving parents peace f mind in funding care and medical cover for their child.

In 2011 Legal & General paid out 77 claims for child critical illness cover, with the top five claims were made for:

  • Cancer, 63.3%
  • Bacterial Meningitis, 6.3%
  • Major Organ Transplant, 5.1%

Source: L&G Critical Illness Claim Report

Critical Illness Action Plan

After reviewing the above I suggest that you take action now through the following steps in our critical illness action plan.

This will ensure you have adequate cover and also give you peace of mind.

Step 1: Review how much cover you need
Step 2: Review what you already have in place through cover, savings and what the NHS would supply
Step 3: Work out the shortfall in your current position to what is required
Step 4: Review whether your current policies are fit for purpose
Step 5: Find the right cover for your situation, remembering that price should not be the main consideration – critical illness cover selection is all about the small print and quality of the over being offered

If you are unsure, or find you do not wish to do this yourself, then why not seek the help of a financial professional to support your decisions?


The Monday Morning Quote #175

“…every depression is a challenge to every manufacturer to put more brains into his business –

to overcome by management what other people try to overcome by wage reduction….

Get the costs down by better management.

Get the prices down to the buying power.”

(Henry Ford, 1922)

Dental Practice Running Costs on the Up – FTA

News from the FTA blog.

Dental Practice Running Costs on the Up

The cost of running a dental practice in England and Wales has increased for 93% of all respondents in the last 12 months. So says a recent survey carried out for Frank Taylor and Associates by the Forum of Private Business.

As might be expected, energy, staffing and material costs were some of the main culprits. Over 90% of practices responding said that both materials and energy had gone up, with 83% saying that they thought that staffing costs had also increased.


Two areas that also appear to be on the rise are those of insurance and the cost of raising finance. 77% felt that the cost of finance has gone up or stayed the same, and 98% said the same about insurance.

This has surprised both David Brewer and Dino Charalambous at Frank Taylor and Associates. David Brewer commented, “In the current financial market, we have actually seen a lot of competition in the finance sector. This is probably due to dentistry being seen as a ‘green light’ sector for lending. There are great opportunities for practices to reduce the cost of finance.”

Dino who is an IFA and deals with a wide range of issues feels that high premiums could be a reflection of dentists not buying from the whole of market. “Remember, ‘panel of insurers’ is not the same as the whole of market – many could be confused by the terminology. In short, your IFA needs to confirm to you that they have access to the whole of the market.”

Overall, dental practices seem to be paying a little over the average to do business – 10.6% as a cost of doing business vs. 8.5% for small businesses generally.

Chewing gum & Orthodontics –

In those orthodontic days of my portfolio career having been taught that it was wrong for patients with fixed appliances to chew gum I used to pass on dire warnings after “bonding up” a patient. “Avoid hard foods,” I would warn, “and chewy sweets and chewing gum.” This was just the start of the list.

I finally had fixed appliance treatment at the age of 50 to correct my Class II Div 2 malocclusion and I was glad that I did, if only to stop my bruxing and headaches. However I did not take my own advice because I found chewing sugar free gum, albeit with care, made my mouth feel cleaner and never caused any breakages.

So I was interested to read this piece via Marty Jablow’s site.

The effect of chewing gum on the impact, pain and breakages associated with fixed orthodontic appliances: a randomized clinical trial

Benson, P. E., Razi, R. M. and Al-Bloushi, R. J. (2012), The effect of chewing gum on the impact, pain and breakages associated with fixed orthodontic appliances: a randomized clinical trial. Orthodontics & Craniofacial Research. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-6343.2012.01546.x
Objectives –  To determine whether the use of chewing gum reduced the impact and pain of fixed orthodontic appliances.
Setting and sample population –  The Orthodontic Department of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, Sheffield, UK. Fifty-seven patients aged 18 years or younger and who were about to start fixed orthodontic appliance treatment.
Subjects and Methods –  A randomized clinical trial with two parallel groups either allocated to receive chewing gum after placement of their appliance or who were asked not to chew gum. The patients completed a previously validated Impact of Fixed Appliances questionnaire at 24 h and 1 week following each visit up until the placement of the working archwire. A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to assess the intensity of pain. Appliance breakages were recorded to the end of treatment.
Results –  The difference between the median Total Impact Score of the two groups at 24 h was 16, which was significant (p = 0.031; Mann–Whitney U-test). The difference between the median VAS between the two groups at 24 h was 25 mm, which was significant (p = 0.038; Mann–Whitney U-test). There were no differences at 1 week. None of the risk ratios for appliance breakages were significant.
Conclusion –  Chewing gum significantly decreased both the impact and pain from the fixed appliances. There was no evidence that chewing gum increased the incidence of appliance breakages.

Bridge 2 Aid Student Elective Programme 2013

What a great opportunity from those folks at Bridge2Aid

Following the success of our pilot Elective project visit in December last year, we are happy to announce the launch of our elective programme for 2013.

In partnership with Henry Schein Minerva, we are offering an amazing opportunity for 4 students to take part in our elective programme in July 2013. They will have the opportunity to work on one of our Dental Volunteer Programmes in Tanzania, as part of a team of volunteer dentists and nurses. We are running a programme that they will find of real worth to their studies, future careers, and their perception of the wider world. We expect the students to leave us with an understanding of the challenges of dentistry in developing countries, and an insight into effective, ethical and appropriate responses to these challenges.

The students will be working as assistants to our volunteer dentists, and will be directly involved in training the Tanzanian Clinical Officers in cross infection control and oral health education.
If you are, or you know of a student looking for an exciting, rewarding, educational and life-changing elective next year, please contact Shaenna for more information and for an application pack. Deadline for submission of the applications is 28th September 2012.



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