The Carpenters Arms Dental Practice, Dunstable, was established in 2006 as part of the B Dental Group. If you thought the name was reminiscient of a drinking establishment, you’d be right. Prior to becoming a dental practice, the owner of the original house used to brew his own beer to sell; and over time the premises became a pub.
Now a dental practice with a high street location, the Carpenters Arms is ideally placed to serve the community and a visit shows the real sense of local spirit that the team has.
Glen Taylor, winner of the Best Young Dentist award for the South East, explained how it is important to the practice to be a part of the community.
They carry out school visits with question and answer sessions for children aged four-to-nine-years-old. New to the practice, this was Glen’s idea as a way to establish himself in the area, ‘the teachers love these visits and it’s a chance to introduce myself, meet locals and help them’. As well as this, the practice is involved in an open day at the local college as part of National Smile Month, a mums-and-toddlers group and Spotlight, a local hostel for homeless people aged 16-21.
Glen believes that interacting with the local community – going to them rather than waiting for them to come to the practice – means that their patients are more responsive.
The million-dollar question, has winning the awards made an impact on the practice? Well it’s clear that they are proud of their achievements; there is a huge banner on the front of the building announcing their win and the Best Team award is on display in reception. But does this make any difference to the patient numbers?
“We were worried we were out of our depth because you see so many ‘pretty’ practices in magazines, we want to maintain our homely feel and our focus is on being part of the community. Winning really was the icing on the cake”
‘We’ve had old patients return to the practice, as well as new ones join, all because they’ve seen the banner and it’s made them realise we’re doing something right,’ said Glen. ‘We actually need to hire another dentist because of the increased patient numbers.
‘The awards ceremony was a fantastic night, we had fun and everyone enjoyed themselves. Tom Stade was brilliant, he was ruder live than he was on TV, but we liked that. The only thing we’d do differently would be to book a hotel!’
The Carpenters Arms is an 80% NHS practice, Glen said: ‘We didn’t think we’d win, we’ve never entered anything like that and we just thought “why not?” Fiona Campion put the entries together. She gathered all the information and collected patient recommendations and we just hoped to get placed. The awards really do encompass all types of practice, it’s done really well. We were worried we were out of our depth because you see so many “pretty” practices in magazines. We want to maintain our homely feel and our focus is on being part of the community. Winning really was the icing on the cake.’
The right people
The dentists have a meeting every Friday and the nurses meet straight after. There are team meetings four times a year where everyone comes up with new ideas for the practice. ‘Everyone is involved in the decision-making process.
Essentially its up to the practice owner to enforce change, but we’re all a part of putting ideas together,’ said Glen. ‘Our head office offers lots of rewards if we do well, like long weekends in Marbella, trips to Ascot and days out in London for the team. We had a team-building session in Marbella, playing water polo. I think it ended up more like team drowning but it definitely worked!’
As well as getting on well during working hours, the team finds time to socialise together at events – such as birthdays – outside the practice, and they also have a Christmas party together each year.
‘We’re lucky we have the right people to gel the team together. Everyone who works here motivates, inspires and encourages each other. It’s about choosing people with the same ethos,’ said Glen.
Kelly-Anne Fowler, head nurse, said: ‘We have a wonderful team here, I love everybody. The awards really highlighted that and how well we’ve done, it’s great when patients come in and say “you’re the practice that won”. We want to win Best Practice now so we have the whole set!’
Confidence for the future
Glen feels that winning the Best Young Dentist award has given him the confidence to further his career. Since the awards, he has applied to be a VT trainer and starts in August, ‘I’ve also taken a masters in advanced general dental practice at King’s College London and I have an interview on 22 June to be part of the dental team at the Olympic Games.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it would be nice to be involved. My sports dentistry certificate from the Eastman will come in handy. I would never have applied to do either of these things if I didn’t have the confidence from winning at the Dentistry Awards, I’ll be taking my
award to the interview that’s for sure!’
Winning has really given Glen and the rest of the team the confidence to push themselves and the practice further. ‘I really wanted to be a VT trainer, that was one of my main goals, now we’ve done that I want us to be the best training practice in the area. It’s important to us that we develop our presence in the community. Teaching is one of my main interests and I really want to build on that.’
‘We’ll definitely enter again, probably not this year because VT will take up a fair bit of time, but if you don’t see the Carpenters Arms there then look out for one of the other practices in the B Dental Group – our achievements have caused a great deal of inspiration.’
If the Carpenters Arms Dental Practice has inspired you, the 2011 Dentistry Awards are open for entries.
Now in its sixth year, the awards ceremony is the most celebrated event in the dental calendar, honouring regional and national excellence in UK dentistry. The ceremony will be held on Friday 2 December 2011 at the stunning Athena in Leicester.
The cost is £50 + VAT per category.
Full details can be found at www.dentistry.co.uk/awards.
All entries close on Friday 9 September.