The Monday Morning Quote #214

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.

The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Winston Churchill

Upcoming courses in Occlusion & Sleep Apnoea

A great way to get “into” occlusion

The Bristish Society of Occlusal Studies are running some more of their very popular introduction to occlusion courses
Day 1 “Occlusion in Everyday Practice”
Day 2 “Hands-On Occlusal Practical”
Both courses are available to attend individually. However, for delegates who book on both days Prestige Dental are offering a £100.00 voucher (excluding vat) to spend exclusively on Prestige Dental products during the course. The voucher can be offset against part of an invoice value for items ordered during the course or as full payment for an invoice to the value of £100.00 (excluding VAT). No credit or cash value can be claimed for orders under the voucher value.
Dates and venues are:
Glasgow, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May 2013.
Wigan, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June 2013.
For full details and to book your place please visit the BSOS website news section at

Prestige are offering their Sleep Apnoea Course for Dentists.
Presented by:
Dr Jamie Newlands BDS (Glas) U.K. LFHom RCH (Glas), Clinical Director at The Berkeley Clinic.
Dr John C Devine BDS, MBChB, FDSRCS (Eng), FRCS (Eng), FRCS (OMFS), registered specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery.
Ms Caroline Kirkpatrick CDT.
The course will enable you to become certified and start to offer Sleep Apnoea as a treatment option within your practice.
Details of various appliances whether lab fabricated or off the shelf will be discussed providing benefits and contraindications. The hands-on element will be using the ExSnore Appliance.
Detailed guidance on diagnostic procedures will be provided and a referral pathway for when medical/surgical intervention is required will give you a detailed knowledge of when and which treatment is appropriate.
Caroline Kirkpatrick will also provide guidance on appliance adjustment.
This in-depth Sleep Apnoea course will provide you with everything you need to know. However, once certified you will also be able to access a mentor network,referral pathway, further courses and also marketing support including a listing on a referral website.
For a full list of the days content please email

The course fee is £495.00. including course notes, materials and refreshments.
The venue is: The Berkeley Clinic, 5 Newton Terrace, Glasgow.
The date is: 23rd August 2013.
7 hours CPD.

All UK airports offer quick, budget flights to Glasgow (Paisley) airport and the venue is just a 10 minute, 6 mile taxi ride away. So location is easy to get to.
Our local partner hotels are City Ibis and Blythswood Hotel (for a 5 star experience).

The course is restricted to 20 delegates and first come first served.

Contact Alison at or call 0141 564 1900.
Please be aware that bookings are only confirmed when full course fee is paid.

The Monday Morning Quote #213

“If your happiness depends on what someone else does, I guess you do have a problem.”

Richard Bach


Thanks to my friend Dixie Gillaspie



Two sides of customer service.

Four tales from customer services and attitudes during the past 10 days. It won’t come as any surprise that the two negative reports are from banks.

Let’s start with good reports.

First Fellowes.

The website of Fellowes says that they have been making “Quality Office Products since 1917”. They are a US based company whose UK offices are in Yorkshire. I bought one of their shredders in February this year to replace an old cheap one (can’t remember the make) that had given good service but finally gave up the ghost. I have used it reasonably frequently but paid attention to the instructions, never used it for more than 4 minutes at a time. only put in one sheet  and oiled the blades every time that I emptied the collection box. I was disappointed that after less than eight weeks use it ground to a halt mid-shred and refused to “power up”.

Back to Staples, where I was met with:

“I’m sorry to hear that sir, do you have proof of purchase? You do, that’s great.” (Tries it out.) “Yes you’re quite right, it’s broken, I’ll get them on the ‘phone and ask ow we go about getting you a replacement. I have them now Dr Rees, it’s probably best if you speak to them.”

“Hello Dr Rees, this is “Susie” at Fellowes, I’m sorry you’re having problems with your shredder, can you give me your full name and address please? Now how would you like us to send you the documents you’ll need, fax or email? That ‘s great. Now what will happen is I’ll email you a report form, which I’d like you to complete and return with a copy of your proof of purchase; when I get that I’ll send a new shredder to you. Is that OK sir? Now one last thing, could you possible arrange to dispose of the old machine please?”

My new shredder has been dispatched and should arrive on Monday (PS it did). Result. Thank you Fellowes (& Staples).

Next Irish Ferries

Last Monday evening my wife decided at short notice to go to our home in Ireland for a few days. I went on line to Irish Ferries to book her ferry and cabin for the next sailing at 02.45 on Tuesday, getting onto the ferry wasn’t a problem but every time I tried to book a cabin all I could get was an “error” message. Tried 3 times, failed 3 times and got on the ‘phone to ticket office based in Liverpool. I explained the difficulty and the “Susie” tried to book the cabin with exactly the same results that I had encountered. ‘No problem”, she said “I’ll book the ferry and she can buy a cabin on board”. I was concerned that she would be charged a premium for paying on board but was told that a) that shouldn’t happen (it had before) b) she would make a computer note and they would be able to see on board that they should charge the advertised price. Great – so far, so good.

Can you guess what happens next? Of, course there was ‘cabin availability’ on board but she did have to pay £50 instead of £36 and no, there wasn’t any note on the booking on the computer. Hey ho it’s 2am so get some sleep there’s a long drive the other side.

Insult to injury – when I looked at the email receipt for the ferry booking I had been charged £5 more than the advertised price.

Tuesday morning back on the phone to customer service in Liverpool (an 0871 number which I avoided thanks to where I was told that the £5 was a fee for using a Visa Debit card and that the only way I could avoid the fee was by using a Visa Electron card. The majority of UK & Irish banks don’t issue Electron cards – heads you lose, tails the company win. So we’re into Ryan Air territory here. I told the company representative that I hadn’t been told about this fee and I was also cross about the charge for the cabin. His response was “nothing I can do about that, it’s company policy”. I asked if I could speak to somebody who could deal with it and was told I’d have to call HQ in Dublin. “Surely there is someone there who I can speak to, what about your supervisor or line manager, I’m sure there must be a way that you can put me through to Dublin.”

The connection went dead, leaving me frustrated and left with no choice but to make an international call, which is where things start to improve. I spoke to the wonderful ambassador for Irish Ferries Sheila Gleeson who listened to my tale and my complaints. Now bear in mind that she is no place to change “company policy” but neither did she try to blame anything on “the company”. She acknowledged my complaints, told me that she was able to see that we were regular customers of Irish Ferries and how much she regretted that we had a reason to call. The £5 we had been charged would be refunded as would the £14 excess for the cabin and the amount would be rounded up to a credit of £30 to be used the next time we made a booking. Result. Sheila can’t change the policy of Irish Ferries of ripping their customers off by charging for using different cards or by having a differential cabin price but she did what she could – she’s the right person in the right job and above all kept us as customers.

The other side of the coin.

Nat West Credit Cards

My wife has a Nat West Mastercard. Credit limit £300. Last week she had a letter telling here that any interest charged on the card was being increased by 3%. It went to say that she had several options, the first of these was “to leave”. She has been a client of Nat West for more than 20 years and used the credit card through that time. So thanks Nat West (a part of RBS which is 82% owned by the UK taxpayer) and yes she will be leaving and taking her investment products with her without a backward glance.


I have a credit card with Santander – it was originally with Abbey but it seemed that Spanish banks are so strong and safe that they have been given permission to hoover up whatever they wish in the UK High Street. I pay what I owe them with a direct debit lest I should forget, no problem. Until the debit was cancelled by them, definitely not by me, why would I complicate my life? So the payment wasn’t made even though I had budgeted for it and was expecting it go, of course next up I get a stroppy letter and 2 x £12 fines. I rang customer services, set up a new direct debit mandate and asked how should I pay what was owed? “Could you do that by ‘BACS’ please?”, of course I could, so last thing on that Friday afternoon off went the cash from my account.

On Monday morning my mobile rang, it was “collections” from Santander. After the usual “we have called you so please prove you are who you say you are” I was asked when I was going to pay what I owed. At this point I’m afraid I started to become less than co-operative.

“Do you have a record of the conversation I had with you on Friday?”

“It wasn’t me Dr Rees.”

“No, not you personally, one of your colleagues from Santander.”

“What was it in relation to?”

“My account”.

“Which account?”

“The account that you have rung me about today.”

“I don’t know about that call, I’m from collections that will have been customer services.”

“So that means you have nothing to do with customer service then?”

“I’m from collections, when are you going to pay what you owe?”

“I made an arrangement with customer services to pay it, it has been paid.”

“I have no record of that and we haven’t had the money.”

“I’m bored with left and right hand here, please can I speak to someone who knows what’s going on?”

“Yes you can but first I will have to read this to you” starts to read something about my rights, which I interrupt.

“Please can I speak to someone who knows what;s going on?”

“Yes you can but first I have to read this script.”

“I don’t want to hear a script, let me speak to someone who knows what’s going on.”

“OK then, but I think you’re very rude.”

“It’s not my nature but we all get provoked.”

There is a Vivaldi break of 30 seconds or so when a voice says “hello escalations?”

“Escalations?” I say.

“Yes Mr Rees, you have come through to me because you wish to escalate your call to a complaint.”

“But you called me.”

“Why are you making a complaint.”

“I’m not, I just want to speak to someone who knows what’s going on.” She tells me  that she can see the notes on my account of the call on Friday and that my BACS payment is expected but won’t have reached my account just yet.

“Then why did you ring me?”

‘The person who rang you is in collections and won’t have access to the information that I have. Is there anything else I can help you with today Mr Rees?”

“My will to live.”

Laughs. “Thank you for calling Santander.”

“I didn’t – Oh what’s the point?”

Protest and dance now – see you at The BDA?

I was inspired by this film of customers protesting about Spanish banks by doing a flashmob Flamenco.

it got me wondering whether we should try something at the BDA conference next week when Earl Howe stands up to deliver the usual platitudes about commitment to the NHS and how wonderful the next new contract will be.

I asked for a contribution from Wales and Lancashire and they’re ready

The Scottish Branches are already training

and Barry McGonigle (here seen soloing after his regular chest waxing) has been liaising with the IDA for some cross border contribution which will no doubt take over the world, see can you spot Simon Thackeray drumming at the start

Sadly the contributions from England have been less than overwhelming

Western Counties asked the GDPs from Helston, Truro & Falmouth to send a team

and the only other contribution was ruled out after a risk assessment of those sticks.

Oh well we’ll have to leave it to Les Jones & Practice Plan again.

See you on Friday morning?

Foundation Dentist Places – Please Sign The Petition

The below is “lifted” from GDPUK. I am pleased to share it here. The situation is deplorable please sign the petition.

Hello everyone!

Wanted to post a message regarding something a few of us have been working on at the BDA with regards to Young Dentists and how available training posts have been affected recently. Would appreciate everyone and anyone taking the time to read the information below and taking the time to help sign the ePetition and support UK graduates –

Young dentists are calling for support for their demand for Government to guarantee all graduates from UK dental schools a Dental Foundation Training (DFT) place. The demand comes in the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) newly-published YDC Asks, a mini-manifesto for young dentists developed by the organisation’s Young Dentists Committee (YDC).

The Committee is asking those who support it to sign a Government e-petition founded by YDC Chair Dr Martin Nimmo. The petition argues that the failure to allocate DFT places to UK graduates both wastes taxpayers’ money invested in their training, because denying each individual a DFT place means that they are prevented from providing NHS care, and is unfair to the graduates who taken on significant amounts of debt in order to complete their studies.

The launch of the petition follows a recent admission by the Department of Health (DH) that 35 UK graduates from the 2011 cohort were not been allocated DFT places. Each graduate, DH acknowledged, will have cost the public purse approximately £150,000 to train.

Dr Martin Nimmo, Chair of the BDA’s Young Dentists Committee, said

“It is perverse that students who have strived hard to pursue a career in NHS care are being denied the training places they need to fulfil that ambition. This is a significant waste of taxpayers’ money, and a tragedy for the graduates who have taken on large amounts of debt in pursuing their vocation. Given that there are some areas of the UK where patients who wish to access NHS care cannot do so, it is also nonsensical.

“I urge all current and potential members of the profession, and taxpayers, to join young dentists in calling for a guarantee that this farcical situation will never be allowed to happen again.”

YDC Asks also expresses concerns that robust data should be used in workforce planning, that barriers to young dentists becoming practice owners are mounting and that careers in dental academia and specialist training must remain viable options for young dentists.


The petition can be accessed from the above link and we are grateful for all the support we can get.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

The Monday Morning Quote #212

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Alan C . Kay

Read the full article here.


Mediocre companies have teams, great companies have tribes

Great post & cartoon from Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void


Go Team Go!
Sounds good, but like a sports club, teams come together for a common goal – to win.  But you know that winning isn’t everything, right?

Tribes come together around common beliefs. Great companies know this.  Their tribe is not just about winning.  Their tribe is about changing the world…. making a difference.  That’s how you really win.


Great reminder for the office common areas, don’t you think?

The Monday Morning Quote #211

“If you’re the most intelligent person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”

James Watson


You are a winner!!

My thanks to Sunil Abeyewickreme, Jennifer Morries and their team at DWF solicitors. I entered my business card in their draw at The Dentistry Show and won a magnificent hamper. The photo really doesn’t do it justice – the bottles of wine at the bottom were a great surprise!

Lesson – always carry a business card.

Thanks again.


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