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Filling the void

By Members, Uncategorized

This blog is filled with flawed views and biased opinions. I’m probably wrong in what I have to say more than I am right. You can scream and shout at what I have written, but when you do, please refer to the first sentence. I’m generalising, from my own perspective, which in no way reflects your life at the moment. It also in no way should be considered advice, either financial, legal, or any other aspect.

In other words, don’t believe a word I say :)

You might have noticed there is a virus out there, the newspapers even mention it occasionally. Daily we are told how many people have died, without mentioning that so far this year 500,000 people have died of malaria, and 1.2 million people have died of HIV/AIDS. The more data I look at, the more people in the field of infectious disease I encounter online, the more I feel our response to this has been a tad of an exaggeration. We are told to stay at home to “save the NHS”, but you can’t save the NHS if the country is bankrupt. The NHS is funded through tax revenue and borrowing. Tax revenue is going to fall through the floor, and the weakened economy and increased emergency borrowing will hit the country’s credit rating…meaning it will be more difficult and more expensive to borrow money in the future. And that’s important because, in the UK, there are 350,000 people every year who require expensive cancer treatment and 7.6 million people with cardiovascular disease who need medication and constant care. If the funding to the NHS is hit due to firebombing the economy, those people will be hit the hardest.

From an economic standpoint, J-value assessment (used to calculate the value of a human life v risk v economic cost of mitigation), suggests that drop in GDP >6.5% will result in poverty and greater mortality than SARS-CoV-2. That basically means after a certain point the cure becomes more lethal than the disease

*For those reading this outside the UK, the NHS is our state-funded National Health Service.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today ;)

 

For those of you stuck at home, you will be in four camps:

  • Bored out of your mind and itching to get back to work because you miss the job
  • Desperate to replenish your rapidly depleting savings and itching to get back to work, not because you enjoy the job but because you need the money.
  • Stuck at home with a violent and abusive partner, or stuck alone with a violent and abusive mind
  • Loving every second of it

 

Category 1

If you are in this category, you can be assured that you have found your vocation in life. This lockdown will pass and you will soon be back at your passion. Some of you work from home, and for you it’s just another day to you. Surprisingly there won’t be that many of you.

Category 2

If you are in category number two, this is an opportunity to re-evaluate your situation. Everybody is where they are because of different choices and circumstance.

  • Some in this category drive fast cars and live in plush houses, but only through pushing what they earnt to the very limit. You overreached yourself, probably through the use of bad debt, and now you have been given a wakeup call. This is not me being judgemental, and this is perhaps life giving you an opportunity to alter your thinking.
  • Some in this category were already living on the breadline. Their expenses rose every year whilst the wage they earnt barely seemed to nudge higher. You felt ground down by the system, and some of you feel resentful at those who put you in this position. The veil of society has been lifted for you and more than ever you can see the challenges with exchanging your time for a fixed wage. IN this lock down, now is the time to go on YouTube and watch every video you can on wealth creation. To go on Amazon and get every book you can find (most of them can be found on Kindle Unlimited which allows you to get as many books as you can read for a modest monthly fee).
  • Some in this category were unfortunate. They were doing everything right, but they were in the middle of a business acquisition, or relying on money from investments.

Category 3

There are institutions and charities out there to help. Only you can say when it is right for you to safely contact these agencies.

Category 4

Here we have who this blog is aimed at. You are sat at home, free from the need to go into work every day. You have realised something, that so few people get a chance to see. Likely you don’t have financial worries because you have enough set aside. This has allowed you to wake up and smell the roses.

You’ve suddenly found the urge to write a book, take up exercise, play an instrument, learn a language, or rekindle a relationship. Whereas some parents are pulling their hair out at having their kids at home constantly, for you this is the best time. There’s no rush, no pressure, no need to do anything you don’t want to.

You aren’t bored because your life has suddenly filled with the joy of doing what you want to rather than what you have to. The 9-5 grind always wore you down, and now you find yourself smiling more, sitting out in the sunshine and just relishing this time.

When I told people I had sold my practice and was taking time off, invariably a question would crop up…”but what do you do with your time?” We are so trapped in the sleep, eat, work, eat, sleep routine that so many of us can’t see past it.

You are the awakened ones, who positioned yourselves either deliberately or by chance to stay in the eye of the hurricane. There are more of you than you think. There are also some of you in category 2, if only they had the funds to really enjoy it.

Because that’s what you are doing. You are enjoying life in a way that brings joy to your heart. When this is over, you are going to have a very different outlook on things.

 

There are some with a conspiracy mindset who say this is all a plot to bring in New World Order so that we will be forced to serve our “Reptilian Overlords”. But what if it’s the exact opposite. What if we are being given a moment to witness a different side of life, where those who are ready can step forwards and remove themselves from the materialistic, debt-ridden consumer society that has driven most of us to despair and unhappiness. We are dopamine addicts, driven by our need for significance, buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even know.

Now you know we don’t need to live like that anymore.

  • What good is that £70K car if you can only drive it to the supermarket?
  • What good is that house with seven bedrooms if you only use two of them?
  • What use is that watch that took two month’s wages to buy when you can’t go out anywhere to wear it?
  • What purpose does that family beach home serve if you can’t even get to it?

 

And for those in business this will be the best and the worst of times. Some it will drive to financial ruin, but for others this will be the opportunity of a lifetime. We are now in a buyer’s market, for everything, and that will last for months afterwards.

The rules have changed. So you have to change too.

 

That’s the way it looks from here

 

 

You have been given an opportunity

By Members, Uncategorized

I’ve kept pretty quiet about this Coronavirus malarkey, mainly because I know my opinions on it won’t amount to anything. Plus I’m just a random bloke, so I’m probably wrong.

That’s not what this blog is about. Maybe when it’s all over I will write one about the way humanity has responded to this threat.

At the age of 24 (and I vividly remember this), it occurred to me that the pursuit of material goods was complete madness. That was when, working as a VT, I had managed to save up the grand total of £300, only for that to disappear into the midst of time and space due to the excess on car insurance and an unfortunate accident in a shabby Ford Escort.

You will all have had events that shape your personality. This was one of mine. It occurred to me, on that day, that the more expensive a car was, the more money it would cost to keep it on the road. I had also lost the buzz of that “ooh I’ve bought a new car” feel, the smell (that comes from a can) long since percolating away.

Now whilst it is possible to use expensive cars as an investment, most people squander vast sums of money on a box with wheels that they drive to impress people they don’t even know. From that moment forward I made a vow to never spend more than £X on a car, and I’ve stuck to that.

But we aren’t talking about cars here either. Today we are going to discuss the following phrases

“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

“Spend less than you earn, save and invest the difference.”

In my younger years, despite my philosophy on cars, I was foolish with money. I wasted a lot of it on ridiculous escapades whilst fooling myself that I was somehow “better” because I wasn’t buying fancy gadgets and designer knick-knacks. It was only when I bought a practice that I began to realise the cost of doing business, and once again, my mentality began to change.

If you read past through previous blogs, you will see the following mentioned countless times:

  • Have 6 months’ expenses in the bank
  • Don’t live off your overdraft
  • Build your business up from the profits you accumulate rather than the money the bank gives you
  • Put money away for your tax

If you want to buy something (none business-related) buy it with cash that you have saved up. Then calculate how many more months after your proposed retirement date you will have to work to make up that shortfall. Then calculate how much that money could make you if you invested it. Then ask yourself if you still want it.

When I sold my practice in 2017, I suddenly became very minimalist in my thinking. I sold my 4 bedroom house and moved into a 2 bedroom flat. I rid myself of clutter and simplified my life as much as possible.

Recently, on the rare moment when I am allowed to drive about, it occurred to me that most of the businesses that are presently shut are there just to give someone a job and to give someone the opportunity to spend money they probably don’t have. They don’t actually bring anything of value to your world.

Now that you are stuck at home, I wonder how many of you see it for the opportunity that it is?

  • Think of all the books you can read
  • What about the books you can write
  • You can finally start that exercise regime
  • What about starting that online business?
  • Now that you are basically trapped in it, does it matter how big your house is?
  • Some of you might even want to start that spiritual practice

What can you do, right now, to enhance your life? What can you do, right now, to increase your income whilst sat at home?

We may well look back and think that what we are seeing now is an overreaction. So far this year 120,000 across the world have died of flu and 500,000 have died of malaria. There are some who will thus be critical of the way the world has responded to Covid -19.

What I do know is that it has changed everything, just as 911 changed the world. The governments of the world, at the very least, have now had a dry run on how to deal with a pandemic. When the next one occurs, you know what to expect.

  • Will you and your business be ready?
  • Is the present model of dental practice viable in this new reality?
  • What industries are going to completely disappear because of it?
  • Can your retirement investments stand up to further shocks like the one that has just rocked the world’s stock markets?
  • Are you ready for the next one

 

Just some thoughts to see you through the weekend ;)

COVID-19

By Members, Uncategorized

This blog post isn’t about my thoughts on the Covid-19 response. Nor will it be a rant about the stupidy of panic buying muppets and power-crazed governments. It’s just some useful links to help you and save you some google searching time.

 

First the official guidance:

 

Now some other resources that can help:

I hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

Medical Emergancies

By Members, Uncategorized

We all hope that we never have to deal with medical emergencies.  I’ve been lucky in that regard throughout my career.  I’ve had a few “oh shit” moments, but never one of the big ones.  From memory, I’ve had to call an ambulance three times in 22 years of practice.

The main things we saw were faints.  Those are fairly easy to deal with.

A lot of this will be down to luck and the will of Odin, but I would also like to think that the systems I implemented helped head off some of the worst of it.  These systems included

  • Updating the medical history at ever oral health review.  Whilst we got them to sign a form, we asked them the specific questions.  This helped avoid, for example, the patient you have just numbed up for an extraction asking if it matters that they had a heart attack 3 weeks before.
  • Taking blood pressure of all patients we did any kind of surgery on.
  • Listening to the voice in the back of your head that tells you to avoid doing something like the plague
  • Getting to know the patients so they can be honest with you and not fear that their concerns will be dismissed or that they will be judged.
  • Giving pre and post-operative instructions that you actually go through with whilst the patient is there…before you numb them up.
  • Making sure the patient has eaten before any procedure (difficult with some religious fasting I know, but we managed)
  • Ringing the patient up at home after anything “nasty”.  You don’t need me to tell you what that means
  • Finding alternatives to ID blocks (patients loved us for it)
  • Being ready for if the shit hit the fan.  For example, having the drugs split into separate boxes based on the medical emergency instead of having them all rammed in together.

The last one is vital because, despite your best efforts, the unexpected will happen.  Now I’ve always thought that the “once a year” training was inadequate.  To be able to deal with a medical emergency takes practice.  Repetition is the mother of skill.

Remember the first time you tried to do a root filling? You were likely nervous, hesitant, worried about what you were doing.  The damn dam wouldn’t go on, and you couldn;t even find the canal.  Perhaps you were fortunate, or perhaps you were faffing around for half an hour before you even started.

So how would that translate to a medical emergency?

One of the best things you can do it get your team booked on one of the simulation suites across the country.  There’s one in Nottingham and Leeds for example.  It’s a mannequin that communicates with you whilst it goes through its medical emergency scenario.

You also need the proper kit and ensure it is in date and in good order.  It needs to be easily accessible, and everyone needs to know where it is.  Everyone needs to know what’s in it and how to use it.  Even with the CQC poking their noses into every crevice, some practices still aren’t up to scratch on this.

In my opinion, you also need to systemise the approach to such unwanted events.  Everyone needs to know their part, and it’s good to have printouts with the various aspect of your emergency kit so that anyone can refer to them to tell them what is used for when. When things go south, you can sometimes freeze, your mind can go blank and that isn’t very good for anyone involved.

Systems let you flow through your diagnosis into treatment.  It’s what I created for my practice, and thankfully I rarely had to use it. The system I created is now available on my website for purchase, link is at the bottom if you are interested.  Do know however this isn’t a one size fits all approach.  There is a reason it comes as a WORD document rather than a PDF.  The system has to be based on present guidance, and that guidance changes yearly.  So anything put together might be obsolete tomorrow.  Also, the recommendations vary depending on what part of the country you are in.

So this product is generic in nature.  To use this in your practice, you can’t just print it off and bung it in the cupboard.  You need to:

  • Check each and every aspect is correct for your part of the country
  • Check that the system works for your practice.  it may need alteration
  • Check it regularly to keep it up to date
  • Take ownership of the system, because you will be the one using it.  Remember, I’m just some bloke on the internet… what if I made an error in there?

So if you want something that involves no effort on your part, this definitely isn’t for you.  It’s a starting point to save you time and can also be a good reference point for where you are presently at with your emergency preperations.

Medical Emergency System

Social Media

By Members, Uncategorized

I am an old fashioned kind of guy.  I have belief systems that many would see as outdated and archaic.  I never really believed that Social Media had a place when it came to healthcare, and I still don’t.  Please note that I am distinguishing healthcare from health sell, the latter being a growing and dangerous trend.  And I know there will be those who disagree with me.  Many of you reading this will be shaking your heads and tutting at my backward ways.

Please remember that, just because I believe something, it doesn’t mean I am right.

Here’s the thing though.  I was never what you would call a “big earner”, and it was rare for me to take home more than £100K a year.  And yet I was able to put myself in a position where I could retire form chairside dentistry at the age of 45.  But that’s not what this blog post is about.

In the practice I part-owned, we didn’t put ourselves out as “cosmetic dentists”.  We didn’t do botox or fillers.  We didn’t do ortho or smile makeovers.  The practice I part-owned just concentrated on delivering reliable standard dentistry to families.  We concentrated on getting people healthy and keeping them that way.  We weren’t an amalgam factory either, never sheep dipping patients for maximum bums on seats.

I worked 4 days a week.  The staff of the practice were, combined, the practice manager.  They could all do each others roles, and they knew that customer care was the most important part of their job (keep the patients safe and make the customers feel like they belonged).  There were no £10K treatment plans, no Ferraris in the car park, and no egos running amok.  We built relationships with patients that made them feel welcome.

We just went to work to look after people.  Everything else flowed from that.  When I eventually sold my practice, the guys who bought it joked that all the patients were so well maintained that there was nothing for them to do.  For the whole practice:

  • Number of times sued = 0
  • Number of GDC complaints = 0
  • Number of written complaints during my 17-year ownership = 4
  • Amount spent on marketing in that 17 year period = less than £2K
  • No practice website and no social media profile.

There is a problem with social media.  It is generally toxic, with more and more people rejecting it.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/29/teens-desert-social-media

https://www.prweek.com/article/1459149/gen-z-quitting-social-media-droves-makes-unhappy-study-finds

There is something definitely brewing under the surface with regards social media.  This “look at me, look at me” society is breeding depression and a craving for material wealth that actually makes people poorer.  Dentists/patients are forgetting that making teeth perfect and white doesn’t make you happier.  More and more dentists are treating patients with unidentified body dysmorphic problems.  It’s time to step back and realise that the perfect smile is not the road to the perfect life.

I’m not saying don’t do it, but you need to understand that there is a dwindling patient base for cosmetic dentistry, but there will always be a growing demand for health.  I know, I know.  I’m wrong and I’m talking out of my backside.  Well when the EU sovereign debt crisis hits and the western economies tailspin into the long-overdue recession, don’t be surprised if the money to buy all this fancy cosmetic work disappears.  You practice should be geared for health delivery and long term survival, not quick monetary gain.

Just look at 10 practices in your vicinity and see how many concentrate on delivering HEALTH.  They will all answer cosmetics and sparkly things, but where is the emphasis on the important stuff.

If you are looking to build a stable and committed patient base, which will keep your business going through the long haul (through recessions and health scares like SARS etc) there are perhaps easier and cheaper ways to do it.  Build trust.  Build genuine rapport, not that fake sh*te that feels artificial and intrusive.  Treat the patient, not the mouth.  Make people know they are valued and show them how to look after their own mouths.

I have a personal philosophy of not buying things I don’t need, with money I don’t have to try and impress people I don’t even know.

You might want to be the next Newton Fahl or Jason Smithson though.  You might feel to do this you have to have thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter.  But Social media is a double-edged sword.  It’s a minefield where the GDC are involved.  And you make one mistake on the wrong patient, and the whole world knows about it.  It can even be a road to riches, but only for those who get it right.  Most of those chasing this goal won’t make it.  They either won’t have the skills, they won’t have the social media presence, or will self-sabotage or be blown out of the water by that one patient they should never have treated.

Delivering health is low risk, and is also what the majority of people actually want.  If you do it correctly, it also allows you to keep your practice overheads down which means you can make a substantial income without sticking your head above the parapet.  If you think litigation is bad now, give it 5 years when the lawyers really get their teeth into how poor most dentists are at getting consent.

That’s my flawed and biased opinion and I’m sticking to it.

If you want to know more about how I ran my practice it’s all in my book

Acceptance

By Uncategorized

At some point, you will no longer be a dentist.

  • Most of you will encounter this when you eventually retire.
  • Some will decide to leave the career early probably to pursue other avenues
  • Some of you will be forced out of the profession, either through health or the regulator

When that moment arrives, some of you will be glad you are no longer a dentist.  Some of you who leave voluntarily will feel the draw to be dragged back in.  Others will be consumed by a feeling of injustice, maybe depression.

Everyone’s reaction will be different.  When I sold my practice in 2017, I decided to take a year out and reassess.  I felt the draw pulling me back in, only to quickly realise that chair side dentistry was no longer for me.  So I went into teaching, but my health has deteriorated to the extent I can’t even do that effectively.  Which is a shame because I had a lot to offer.

For those of you who descend into a dark place at this time, remember it usually sorts itself out.  I’m speaking from experience here.  The key is to develop another interest that can consume you just as dentistry could so often consume your time.  For me, it was writing.  And it can be anything, just so long as you are still able to grow and improve yourself.

This might take the form of something that needs to generate an income, but many of you, by the time you are done, won’t have much in the way of concerns in that regard.  I’ve said before, for those who need the income from dentistry to finance their lifestyle and pay their bills, they need a plan B to fall back on so they can continue putting food on the table.

The problem is, every dentist I meet tells me they are broke, even the ones who earn vast sums in private practice.  The income the average dentist makes has the potential to give them the financial security they need so they never have to work a day past the age of 55.

For those of you who stop being a dentist, it can be a bit of a shock.  It was a big part of your life, and now that has gone.  Your mind will start to churn as it adjusts, and I’ve heard of people “finding” problems with their lives to replace the issues that come with treating members of the public.  The last thing you want to do is put your feet up and stagnate.  The human mind isn’t designed for that.  It needs challenges and inspiration.  It’s the same with the body, which needs to be tested to stop it atrophying.

So when you finally hand up your handpiece, what are you going to do?  You need to be able to accept that the dentistry is done, that it was a part of your life that is now over.

Or do you want to be one of those practising into their 70’s?  There are some people who love the job so much that they relish the prospect of this, but I wouldn’t recommend it ;)

 

That’s the way it looks from here

SH

 

Testimonials

By Uncategorized

I was on Chris Barrows podcast a few weeks back discussing, above other things, how I was able to retire from dentistry at the age of 47.

One of the topics that came up was the question of how to get new patients.

When I was in practice we had a simple method…

  • Firstly you got rid of all the people who caused you the problems (and I’m not talking about those who were awkward to treat, I’m referring to those who were rude, aggressive, late payers, that ilk of person).  There is a reason these people don’t gel with your practice, and they are often better served by seeking their dental care elsewhere.  I’ve said this countless times and I’ll keep on saying it, because I just KNOW that most dentists don’t filter their patients like this.
  • The second part to this was to pull all the stops out for the remaining patients.  Turn them into raving fans who will sing your praises and forgive you when the inevitable treatment failure occurs.
  • The third part is to ask your patients (and ask often) if they know of any CLOSE friend or CLOSE relative who is or might be looking for a dentist.  If they say yes, which they invariably do, I then gave them a time-limited card with our details on.
  • The fourth part might seem counter-intuitive, but we made it difficult for new patients to join.  We had already established social proof with these potential new patients by being recommended by people they respect and care about.  We then made it clear that the practice was for members only, and having referral cards was just one of the steps to entry.

I ran my practice for 10 years like this, and in that time we had 1 complaint.  We kept them healthy, we saw them when they needed seeing and we made sure they knew their responsibilities.  The problems from the patient personality side dried up and made working a pleasure rather than a chore.

The other thing I did was to ask for testimonials.  It didn’t matter what the treatment was, I would ask, explaining that by sharing their experiences with us they could reassure others who had received “old-style dentistry”.  At one point we had the most NHS Choices five-star reviews in the whole of the North East.

My yearly marketing budget was about £20.  Now we could have gone further with a fancy website and facebook advertising, but we didn’t need to so why bother?  Hell, we didn’t even have a website lol

Now how many of you can honestly say you can’t do this with your patients?  Just ask, that’s all you have to do.

 

Is it hard to ask for referrals or testimonials?  It might be at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Some patients were delighted to be asked because it perhaps showed that we trusted them.

So let’s try the same thing here.

Some of you have been reading my blog now for a while.  Some of you have even been unfortunate enough to have read some of my books :)

So I’m asking for testimonials.  I want to know if my website and the product on it have helped you at all.  Is my message one that is worth continuing with?

Also, if you have read any of my books (either dental or zombie) please could you go on Amazon and leave me an honest review.  It’s one of the only things that helps independents authors like myself get the word out.

I hate dentists!

By Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered why people say that?  Sometimes it’s their brain going all mushy from the fear they are experiencing.  Sometimes, it’s a reflection of your perceived earning capacity based on an individual’s political leaning.  Other times it’s the patient just being deliberately rude.

Ask yourself now, which of those three types of people do you want to keep.  Ever since the new contract, I have never let that comment go without addressing it.  And as far as I can remember, I haven’t heard it said to me in the last 10 years.

The bulk of those who are afraid can be treated with compassion and caring, given dentistry that no way matches the experiences they had previously.

The bulk of those who object to the fact you want to earn a decent living can be invited to seek their care elsewhere.  The same goes for those who think they can be abusive and get away with it.

There should be a revolution happening in dentistry, but I don’t see it.  Oh, there are select practices that are beacons on how dentistry should be delivered, but many are far away from where they should be.  Which type of practice do you work in/own?  The fact you are reading this suggests to me that you aren’t the ones we need to worry about.

Worry?

Yes, that’s the word I would use.  Through the Dentinal Tubules network, I’ve met a lot of dentists who are right at the top of their game.  They are skilled clinicians with excellent communications skills.  The practice owners amongst them gather quality staff and quality patients.  Underperforming staff are rooted out.  Shoddy business practices are banned.  Dubious sales techniques are eradicated.  All to build an environment where trust can blossom, where patients feel safe, valued and respected.  And where clinicians and support staff can thrive.

And then you hear about the utter sh*t that still goes on and you realise how far we have to go.  Associates not being paid.  Associates entering into agreements and then reneging on that so they can work somewhere more “lucrative”.  Treatment done for the £££ rather than for the wellbeing of the patient.  Staff taking the piss.  Bosses abusing their staff.  Supervised neglect and shoddy record-keeping.  Abusive patients and people who constantly fail to arrive.

THERE IS NO REASON FOR ANY OF THAT.

Sooner or later, this sort of stuff gets smoked out.  It’s the hidden hand of the market, backed up by regulators, lawyers and social media.  More and more, the only way to survive will be:

  • Working ethically
  • Having good clinical skills
  • Having good communication skills
  • Having good systems in place
  • Respecting dentists and support staff, whilst knowing when to remove those who don’t make the grade
  • Knowing what you want as a dentist.
  • Working towards financial freedom rather than the next flash car payment
  • Keeping up to date with the laws and regulations.
  • Being selective in who you treat and using your patient base as your primary referral tool (for none referral-based practices)

If you aren’t able to do that, then I would question why you aren’t making the change.  With commitment and maybe a bit of help, I would say we could transform dentistry in this country.  It’s already started, like the Beacons of Gondor, the example and the message spreading across the country.  So if you aren’t working in/owning one of these stupendous practices, what’s stopping you.

  • You don’t need marble floors and blue mood lighting … you just need well kept and clean premises.
  • You don’t need to have the composite skills of Newton Fahl … you just need to be competent at the treatments you choose to do
  • You don’t need to have the hypnotic powers of Paul McKenna … you just need to be able to talk to people openly and honestly about what you can do for them.
  • You don’t need to be a doormat or a dictator … you just need to know the tolerances in patient behaviour of you and your practice and then avoid treating those that you have no rapport with.

I’ve been involved in dentistry since 1990 when I first stepped through my dental school’s hallowed doors.  If you want to know what those decades taught me, well it’s all in this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-World-Dentists-successful-business-ebook/dp/B07L3Y4XR9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=stephen+hudson&qid=1576524087&sr=8-1

How I wish this book had been available 30 years ago” – NA

An insightful and interesting collection of hints and tips suitable for anyone working in dentistry” – SS

The true reality of what being a dentist is really like and what they have to face” – AS

Oh and it’s not for everyone, let’s be clear about that.

Contradictory waffle” – M   ;)

Why not have a read and decide for yourself.  It’s now even available on Amazon kindle unlimited.

 

TTFN

SH

 

What 22 years on the NHS front line taught me

By Uncategorized
  • It taught me that this country is full of decent people doing the best they can with the resources available to them
  • It taught me that people will often put their health second to that of career and the raising of their children
  • It taught me that the government (of whatever persuasion) cares nothing for the people it governs
  • It taught me that regulation and litigation are used to make the conducting of business more and more difficult.
  • It taught me that dentistry is no longer a career for those who are only in it for the money.  Whilst it is still possible to make an exceptional income from this job, that is now only the case for the top 10%.  Some of my students were a little shocked when I told them that.
  • It taught me that the country is bankrupt, and this fact is being hidden by a veneer of complicity from the central banks and the City of London.

It taught me a lot of things actually, which is why I’m no longer part of it.  I couldn’t carry on as my health and the work environment I had struggled help create was gradually (and in some cases rapidly) eroded.  The whole country is presently being held together by rubber bands and sellotape.  The promises being made by ALL the political parties as we hurtle towards the election are a combination of lies, half-truths and false assumptions.

Whoever gets in will continue to feck things up royally.  Your job is to try and navigate your way through the rocks that are being hurled in your path.  That’s why this website is here even though I am near the end of my time fettling in people’s mouths.  I’m hoping that the resources here can help as many people as possible.

And speaking to dentists, I know they have to a degree.

To me its all about having a plan.  You do that with teeth when you build up the treatment plan for a patient who’s being chucking the mints down their gob.  Why not have a plan for your life?

The books that I write (the dental ones at least) are there to try and make your life easier.  Trust me, they aren’t going to see me on the New York Times bestseller list ;) It’s my bit to try and help a profession that is in dire need of assistance.

I was asked recently if I had any advice for the newly qualified:

  • Find out which aspect of dentistry you are good at and get REALLY good at it.
  • If you want to own a practice, you have to excel at business and the management of people.  The days of just sticking a plaque outside your practice and expecting people to turn up are long gone
  • Vastly exceed the GDC’s CPD requirements
  • If you insist on owning flash cars, learn how to do it from an investment perspective
  • Remember that the government does not care about the NHS dental service.  You should vacate to the private sector at your earliest convenience.  For that, YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD ENOUGH clinically and in your communication style.
  • Just be f*cking honest.  I’m sick and tired of hearing about dentists doing dodgy stuff.  The patient comes first, not your bank balance.
  • Get a mentor who you can trust
  • Don’t believe the Instagram hype.  Tyler Durden was right, the things you own end up owning you.

If you want to know where to get my books (most of which are available on Kindle Unlimited) follow the link below.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Hudson/e/B06XTSQXLZ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1575483233&sr=8-1

That’s enough from em

SH

 

Is your lifestyle worth it?

By Uncategorized

I took my car in to have new tyres the other day.  The garage is owned by an ex-patient, so I’m known there, and it wasn’t long before I heard the comment “you never see a poor dentist”.

HMRC and most dental accountants might disagree.  The days when dentists could easily make large sums of money are over.  It’s still possible, but it’s a lot harder to make the income that was prevalent in the 80’s and early 90’s.  You know have to be very good at what you do, be well-liked by your patient base and be a good business person to make the kind of money the public perception insists dentists earn.

What’s the average income now?  £60-£80K.  It’s still not bad, but its not what the public think we earn.

So why is this?  Why has our perceived earning potential dropped?  Well, I have some ideas…

  • The cost of running a practice is so much more
  • The NHS income is capped
  • The materials are more expensive
  • The decent labs are more expensive,.  So even if you do the high emnd crown and bridge work, you have high end lab bills to pay for.
  • There is much more “opportunity” to buy stuff (dental equipment) you don’t actually need

The thing is, regardless of what we earn as individuals, dentists seem particularly adept at getting trapped by Parkinson’s law:

“Expenses rise to meet earnings.”

Time and again, I encounter dentists who have the illusion of wealth (nice car, nice watch, nice clothes, swanky practice, nice house etc etc) who then go on to complain that they are “skint”.  I look at their earning potential and find it difficult why they are so strapped for cash.

Parkinson’s law.  No matter what they earn, they end up spending it…and more besides.

Now some of the people reading this will have broken Parkinson’s law.  They will drive an average car, live in an average house and act with frugality when it comes to money.  Often this will depend on where they live (it is harder to do this in London compared to Newcastle for example) as well as the number of children they have.  But most of the time it’s about their approach to life and money.

Your lifestyle often determines how much money you have left at the end of the month.

And yes there will be those who spend big, but who also earn big to the extent that the money coming in is greater than their ability to spend.  These are the earning superstars of our profession…but even some of these people are navigating the fine line of bankruptcy.  If you want to get the true picture on this, just chat to your accountant.  The number of their clients who don’t have enough money to pay their tax year on year is often staggering.

If you have this money stress in your life, how do you think it affects you psychologically.  It wears on you, chaffing your mind and perhaps leading you into unwise decisions.

If you read the book “the millionaire next door”, the average American millionaire had one thing in common. They invariably broke Parkinson’s law.  Many of them weren’t particularly high earners, they just knew how NOT to spend money, and they knew how to invest wisely.

And what is the benefit of this?  Why does having money in the bank matter?

  1. Without a fighting fund of cash, you are constantly having to run on the hamster wheel to keep the bills paid
  2. Without a fighting fund of cash, you can’t invest.  Most of the wealthy became so via their investments, not their main income
  3.  If you are not financially independent you are working because you HAVE to not because you WANT to.  There is more to life than fettling with teeth
  4. What happens if you have a health crisis?
  5. What happens if you have a marital crisis?
  6. What happens if the country drops into the recession we are well overdue for
  7. If you are living off debt, do you think interest rates will stay this low forever?  Sooner rather than later they are going back up

I can’t tell you what to do with your money.  All I know is I would rather have money in a bank than to own an overpriced status symbol.

Just a thought

 

SH

 

 

Health

By Uncategorized

You will notice I haven’t been blogging much the past month or so.  This is due to a recurrence of an illness that is basically forcing me out of dentistry.

I think it was time anyway.  I’m spending most of my time writing, and I really don’t see the point in forging ahead and battling my own body in a career where there are so many potholes, mine shafts and unexploded ordinance lying in my path.  I know that doesn’t sound very optimistic, but it is a reflection of how many of us feel.  When you talk to dentists these days, there is a general malaise, even amongst those at the top of their field.

This is reflected throughout society.  Ironically, we have never had it better in many aspects of our day to day lives.  Life for so many of us is easy, and yet mental health problems are skyrocketing.

In my opinion, health is more important than anything else.  It doesn’t matter how much you earn, how good your composites are, how great a parent you are.  If your health is in the toilet, all that will be compromised.

I mean obviously there will be incidences where you will sacrifice your health for a child or a loved one, but on the whole, your health should come first.  It certainly comes before the 00000 in your bank account, before Mr’s Snoggin’s ill-fitting lower partial and the fancy new car you so desperately think you need.

I hate to say it, and there is no way to avoid the fact that at some point, you will be faced with a health crisis.  For some of you, this will stop you being able to work, and the state will not be there to help you.  Yes, you might be able to get free treatment on the NHS, but only after long waits and battling through the smog of deliberate bureaucracy.

Are you ready for that?  If you own a practice, can it run effectively without you?  Do you have enough in your bank account to cover your bills whilst you recover?  Do you have the network of true friends and loved ones who can help you through whatever you are facing?

If you want peace, prepare for war.

If you want health, prepare for illness.

Make your plans now before the fan is even plugged in.  What comes first?  The new flash watch, or the security of having money in the bank.  Can you safely take 6 months off or are you 3 months from homelessness if the money isn’t rolling in?

Are you looking after yourself, or are you relying on alcohol (and worse) to get you through your days?  Are you overweight and accepting it?  Are you living off fast food and letting your blood chemistry get nuked?

You need to look after yourself because nobody else is going to.  And you most likely have people who depend on you.  What happens to them if you get hit for six?

I know my blogs aren’t always a cheery affair, and there is a reason for that.  Life is hard.  It will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it.  To quote the great philosopher Rocky Balboa, nothing hits as hard as life.  You just have to learn to be ready so that you can take the hits and get back up.

That way the good times will be even sweeter when they arrive.

 

Just a thought

What type of dentist are you?

By Uncategorized

From what I can see there are  types of dentist personality

  1. The charmer – they are smooth, slick, can run rings around people verbally. When it comes to sales patter they can sell freezers to Inuit’s.
  2. The plodder – they go to work, do dentistry, go home, they go to work, do dentistry, go home, they go to work, do dentistry, go home…repeat. They do the bare minimum in CPD etc to keep the regulator happy.
  3. The genius – they are good at everything, always have done. Their dentistry is so good, it makes you want to quit and become a plumber because you can never hope to be anywhere close to their level
  4. The letch – they are still out there, unfortunately, but they seem to be a dying breed.
  5. The Instagram – they are flash, not shy about displaying wealth (even if its rented) and social media savvy.  They think they are giving what their patients want, but they have tapped into a relatively limited niche that does not survive well in economic downturns
  6. The spender – they just have to spend money, be it on fancy cars or equipment. Their inability to save money means they have to work to service all the debts they accumulate.
  7. The innovator – they are the first to utilise the new technology and may even create there own techniques for procedures
  8. The boaster – they seem to be involved in a constant game of “look at me and look at how good I am”, especially on social media.
  9. The bus thrower – they will take any opportunity to be critical of another dentists work. They are part of the reason nearly 10% of all GDC referrals are now by other registrants
  10. The despondent – they have low morale, little or no enjoyment in the job which is grinding them up day in and day out
  11. The Newbee – 2 years out of dental school and they are mad on composite, STO and want to be doing implants sharpish. This all despite the fact they haven’t learnt or mastered the basics of dentistry.  They are overconfident in their abilities and are trying to before they can even crawl
  12. The politician – they get involved in dental politics
  13. The hero – they “believe” in the NHS and battle on through their own moral reasons even as the NHS becomes more and more onerous
  14. The fraudster – they will do whatever they can to maximise the money coming in. They will push the boundaries of what can be claimed on the NHS, pay labs late, shaft other dentists etc.  Their lives are run by the pursuit of the all-mighty pound.  Sometimes they even do work that is unnecessary.
  15. The champion – they do what is in the best interests of the patient through good rapport and good clinical skills which they develop over time. They develop practices that are patient-centred.  Whilst not necessarily being the cheapest, the patients generally have a high level of trust with these dentists.
  16. The resigned – they want out of dentistry as soon as possible

A dentist can be one or all of these in any working day.  Some are obviously not compatible with others, and several of these traits holds the profession in an unfavourable glow.  What type of dentist were you today, and would you be held in a favourable light by your “non bus throwing” peers?