James Hyslop and Emma Hyslop share their journey from initial practice purchase to new surgery conversion and redevelopment.
James Hyslop and his wife Emma returned to the UK from South Africa in 2009 in search of a practice to make their own. It was time to put down some roots, particularly for James who had travelled extensively with his career in the Royal Army Dental Corp, followed by a spell in Cape Town studying for a masters in periodontology.
Emma reflects on their move back to the UK: ‘We came back from South Africa with an idea to buy a practice. However, finding the right one took a lot longer than we thought and we pursued a few options, which came to nothing, before finally finding what we’d been looking for.’
The prize for their patience and long search was an attractive red brick, double fronted Victorian building in Southport, home to a well-established three-surgery NHS dental practice, whose history could be traced back at least 60 years. Completing the purchase in October 2013, the couple set about working with the practice team to modernise the interior and build the private side of the business.
It was not long before Emma and James embarked on their first project, to convert the kitchen at the back of the building into a fourth surgery. For advice on the surgery design and equipment provision, the Hyslops turned to Simon Pearce at McKillop Dental Equipment, also based in Southport. Emma explains their rationale: ‘McKillop has a great reputation amongst dentists in this area and has installed surgeries and equipment at the practice over many years. They knew the building and the practice team already and as new owners we were very keen to support a local business and continue such a successful long-term relationship.’
From his work at the practice over the years Simon knew the building inside out and so was quickly able to come up with a design for the new surgery and assist with the specification and provision of flooring, cabinetry and dental equipment. Emma remembers: ‘Having Simon on board was invaluable, he knew more about the building than we did at that stage and was able to take care of the whole design and installation package. This was an enormous help as my background is in marketing and James was extremely busy
With the new fourth surgery up and running, Emma and James set their sights on the second phase of their planned improvements, to transform two more surgeries. Completing a diploma in implant dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons in 2013, implants are James’ area of interest and many of his patients come to him for whole or part-mouth rehabilitations.
He explains: ‘This part of the business was going from strength to strength but I was finding that sending patients to Altrincham for scans, along with the 10-day wait for results, was not viable in the long term. I wanted to move to offering “same day teeth”, where patients can receive a restorative bespoke crown, prepared and fixed in a few hours or full arch dental implants within a day. We needed to invest in our own CT scanner and to refurbish my surgery into the state-of-the-art environment discerning patients expect today.’
Choosing the right equipment
Once again Emma and James turned to McKillop. Emma recalls: ‘By now we had more of a friendship with Simon than a working relationship. He is very easy to work with and nothing seems to faze him. We decided to overhaul the surgery next door to James’ first. It was always part of the bigger picture to update them both and it meant that when this was completed James could move in while we tackled his room.
‘James has the largest surgery with an enormous bay window but the existing configuration meant the layout of the whole room needed to be rethought. Simon cleverly designed the room to include an entrance area, separate room for the 3D cone beam scanner and a small office at the back that we affectionately call James’ “man cave”.’
Choosing the all-important dental chair was a big decision for James. On Simon’s recommendation, Emma and James visited the Belmont showroom in Manchester to try out the options available. Armed with their surgery layout plan James was able to envisage exactly how his new chair would fit into the space and decide on its configuration to best facilitate how he likes to work.
Opting for the Cleo II, James explains his choice: ‘Modern dentistry and particularly implant work involves plenty of dialogue with the patient. The upright positon of the Cleo allows this communication to take place with the dentist and patient sitting next to each other. This position is much less intimidating for the patient and can help dispel nerves and anxieties whilst being ideal for viewing scans on the TV screen opposite or for handling implant materials.
‘I also find that during long treatments, enabling the patient to sit completely upright for short periods of recovery is beneficial. Elderly patients certainly find access much easier than more traditional style chairs. From experience, I know Belmont chairs are real workhorses too, having reupholstered a 15-year-old Belmont for one of our other surgeries, it now has many more years of life left in it.’
Together with new Amtico flooring and decoration in the reception and waiting room areas, the result of Emma and James’ endeavours is now a completely transformed practice interior. Emma is thrilled: ‘Our clients are impressed and comment on how fresh and bright the practice feels. Certainly we want our patients to feel special and the investment in new surgeries and decoration throughout help us create exactly the right impression.’