Not quite as easy as it looks is it?

Portsmouth

Colosseum Dental Press release via “Curious PR” 16th March 2018: LINK

“One of the pillars of Colosseum’s recipe for success in the UK will be embedding each practice as a “good neighbour” in its local community….each practice will retain its connection as an integral part of its community.”

454 days later

GDPUK report, 13th June 2019: LINK

“Portsmouth is once more in the news, with the closure of three dental practices leaving ‘thousands without access to NHS treatment’. Colosseum Dental Group, which is owned by an investment company based in Switzerland, is closing the practices next month…

According to a report in The Times, up to 20,000 residents of Portsmouth will be without a dentist when a chain of practices closes its doors next month. With no surgeries accepting adult NHS patients, the nearest practices are in Gosport, which is a ferry-ride away, or Havant, a half-hour drive away.”

Blackpool

Blackpool’s Centre for Dentistry to close by end of August due to ‘high costs’ LINK

“…We understand that travel to Preston may not be for everybody, but it’s just half an hour down the road.…”

….The company also plans to close its Cardiff surgery by the end of August, and merge its two London practices into one.

When I visited Sainsbury’s store in Cardiff a couple of days ago the practice was still promoting itself and its “deals”. There was no mention that there would be no continuity of the membership plan or that the closest SFD practice is nearly 40 miles away on the other side of the Severn Bridge.

At least the London practices are in the same city and both north of the river.

SFD’s spokesperson said, “The costs of staying in Blackpool are very high. The rates in Sainsbury’s are much more expensive than they would be on the high street.”

You have to wonder what their projections were like in the first place; we’re all optimistic when drawing up business plans – if we weren’t nobody would ever raise any finance at all.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with several larger groups or “corporates” clearly unable to make the figures work and therefore closing or off-loading practices over the past 2 – 3 years.

I take no joy in seeing this happen. I once had to close one of my practices due to pressure from the bank. At that time I didn’t have the strength, fortitude and experience that I have now. They (the bank) clearly had no understanding of the business of dentistry, the potential professional consequences and little patience with, or confidence in, their client. The fact that the businesses had already turned the corner meant nothing. 

The experience was hard but enables me to help my clients better these days. The worst thing was leaving some patients, who were unable to move to the other site, in the lurch.

Ultimately it is the patients that suffer, followed closely by any laid off team members and the reputation of the profession. In my case it could possibly have led to bankruptcy which would have left me permanently scarred. With corporates? Who knows?

One of the mantras for success is, “Same Place, Same Face”, when that trust goes so does the customer.

But that’s the market for you.

 

 

 

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