Pass the parcel Part 94, now it’s Portman’s turn.

Swiss firm joins £300m race for Cheltenham winner’s dental chain

Jacobs Holding is among the suitors trying to get in the saddle with Cheltenham-winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Sky News learns.

A Swiss family office whose investment firepower was partly generated by an international chocolate producer has joined the £300m race to buy the dental chain run by a former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey.

Sky News has learnt that Jacobs Holding, which last year snapped up Southern Dental, a group of NHS and private dental practices, is among the bidders for Portman Dental Care.

Full piece here.

Addendum June 7th 2018.

It appears that I was misled, the Portman group are re-financing and not getting out of dentistry – yet. Happy to make that clear. My apologies for any confusion.

Philip Roth’s advice..

From David Hepworth’s blog.

Philip Roth’s invaluable advice to writers

I like the story about the young novelist, still waiting tables, who approached Philip Roth, proffering a copy of his newly-published first book.

It was called “Balls”. Roth admired the title. Said he couldn’t believe he hadn’t used it himself. Then he advised his fan to “quit while you’re ahead”. He explained that writing was torture, that you had to throw most of it away because it wasn’t any good and the young man really should stop now before he did lasting damage to himself.When this story made the rounds some said that a successful old man like Roth had no right to be putting off anyone young and up and coming.

I don’t agree. Roth said what he thought. That most novelists, like most musicians, are never going to achieve anything like the acclaim they feel they’re entitled to and they really might be better off doing something they can succeed in.

And the more important point is that if the fire to write novels really burns inside you, rather than just the desire to become a successful novelist, then nothing Philip Roth says is going to make any difference.

As Laurence Olivier used to say, if you want to be an actor, you are an actor. If you’re not an actor you didn’t want it badly enough.


The Monday Morning Quote #484

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”



Get that wasp off my sandwich

I was up and about in plenty of time to be one of the first to cast their vote in the referendum this morning.

It is obviously a serious subject and not one that people tend to discuss too much in public. I am not going to share an opinion in this place except to encourage you to use your vote if you have one.

We’re enjoying a beautiful day in West Cork and the photograph above was taken an hour or so ago from  just outside my workplace “The Woodshed”.

I couldn’t avoid singing this.


The Monday Morning Quote #483

“Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable and remove yourself from the unacceptable,”

Denis Waitley

British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show Day 2 – plus one absentee

A day that seemed less rammed than yesterday but was still busy enough. The competing attractions of sunshine, the FA cup final and a certain high profile wedding didn’t significantly deter the delegates. Indeed some were tuned in to the Windsor nuptials – here are the BACD royalists.

(Some of) the lawyers, sales agents and accountants reported they had experienced a busy day so the sales / purchases market remains buoyant.

Today the freebie grabbers were out in force, many queueing for 40 minutes or more for a “free” toothbrush. Hey ho I am not complaining or criticising. They were there, possibly brought by their practice principal or manager and that’s important. There were thousands of practices unrepresented, whose owners and teams exist in their silos with little or no communication and experience of the greater world of dentistry.

A mention for the busiest looking stand, TePe, where the team were going flat out from start to finish. Their team, many of whom have other “day jobs” as dental nurses or dental hygienists made my day of networking seem very laid back indeed. I know others were probably equally busy but TePe were very visible, situated as they were hard by the entrance.

The discussion about the new NHS contracts which was facilitated by Nigel Jones of Practice Plan and featured Eddie Crouch, Tony Kilcoyne and Henrik Overgaard Nielsen was interesting, if only for the clear disregard that the UK government shows for the dental health of its constituency. This of course is reflected in the way it behaves towards dentistry. The story is one of no commitment to the NHS and the can being kicked down the road and well into the long grass. At one point will the profession refuse to take lower and lower rewards for providing n increasingly challenging and over regulated service?

Certainly the BDA hierarchy were happy with the event and I’m pleased about that, they took quite a risk if only of reputation by getting involved.

One notable absentee from the stands at the NEC was {my}Dentist. At one time they would have had a significant presence where it seemed they wanted to buy any and every practice, they were recruiting from home and abroad and embarking on a march to dominate UK dentistry. Now with tales of contracts  returned unfulfilled, practices being sold and wholesale challenges with attracting and keeping dentists their star appears to be (slightly) on the wane. No matter how many hubs and spokes you have it’s not always easy to keep the wheels on the wagon.

Rodericks, BUPA & Collosseum Dental (who thought that one up?) all had a presence.

Unless that career involves practice ownership I presume…

British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show Day 1

Firstly let me get this comment out of the way, it is not and probably will never be a substitute for the BDA conference. Done.

The numbers were high. When I arrived from the airport at 9.05 the queue to print tickets looked daunting but the stewards kept it organised and the ticket machines were straightforward to use so the wait was minimal.

Every year brings a glut of new businesses to shows and, unsurprisingly, this year’s were those selling GDPR compliance packages. On May 25th the sky will not fall in in the same way that the “Millennium bug” did not bring civilisation crashing down. Last GDPR mention, I promise.

At first glance the lecture theatres were well placed and isolated from the main exhibition hall. There was little or no sound leakage to distract from the content. Less ideal were the theatres situated within the hall, it was clear that anyone doing three or four presentations over the two days would be left with a sore larynx by Saturday afternoon.

One of the justified complaints from the people who pay to make these events happen, the dental industry, is that delegates who come to attend the academic elements don’t visit their stands – with this set up it would be impossible to ignore the goods and services on display.

It was good to see the numbers of Foundation Dentists and Students in attendance something that Closer Still hadn’t welcomed in the past apparently because they weren’t responsible for making or influencing purchases.

No hordes of freebie hunters either.

A very good first day.

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