8 Apr 2020  •  Blog, Covid-19, Practice Management  •  6min read By  • Simon Thackeray

The COVID-19 blog – Starting a new week

Monday dawns like no other Monday. It’s definitely Groundhog Day again, and I’ve no idea how close to Easter we now are. I recall that I probably should have been packing to go on a trip to Wales followed by a trip to Sorrento to see my son perform with his school choir, but obviously that is all cancelled.

Now all the personal stuff and business work is largely stowed away, I am feeling a little lost with regard to what to actually do now. As usual, I respond to some emails but then realise I have been asked to join a Zoom call this evening with some very eminent names in private dentistry to talk about getting some more robust representation at this time. The BDA have been very good; better than I have ever seen but I still think that the private practitioners are missing some form of specific representation, and it appears many others feel the same. The meeting is scheduled tonight, so I start to make a few notes and look forward to the meeting. It’s better than doing nothing.

In the meantime, I get changed to catch up by Zoom with the two non-furloughed members of my team, Vicki (the PM) and Emily (the TCO who does my social media). We have a long chat about how we go forward from here with regard to the next round of cancellations after Easter, and how we are going to ensure our patients get the value-for-money they have been paying for. I’m confident we can put something in place to ensure we minimise the impact on our patients as much as we can, but the lack of detail about what the profession will be able to do, and when, is the obstacle that prevents us making rigid plans. I couldn’t have got through the last couple of weeks without the help of these two ladies, and again feel a sense of pride in the way they have both totally bought into the ethos of the practice without question.

I end up having to go to work today as I need to pick up some correspondence from a solicitor. One of my other roles is as an expert witness, and I’m involved in a fair few cases at any time. Because I can work remotely, this is a great help. A couple of days ago I got an email asking questions about a report and I really need the paper records that the solicitor sent me previously. It’s a bit strange getting in the car and going to work for the first time in over two weeks. This isn’t like returning after a holiday though. It’s the knowledge that the place will be completely empty, a bit dusty and there won’t be anyone there to ask what the holiday was like. I arrive, pick up the correspondence, and leave quickly. It’s very strange.


The resourcefulness of this dog reminds me of what we as a profession are going to need after this has all finished. He sees nothing as a blockage, just an obstacle to be overcome.


One the way back, I have to do the dog-food run. Again, it’s normal to be doing a mundane thing as this, but it actually feels like a major event in the week. I’m wary that the staff in the shop think I’m panic buying, but with four fair-sized dogs, 30 kilos of raw food is only going to last a short period of time. I think I make the same joke as I usually do, remarking that actually the beef mince is great for a lasagne.

I’ve spoken about our dogs before as they are a huge part of the family. There are four of them, and three of them have been rescued from Cyprus in the last six months. They have no idea what is going on and just seem to be happy that they are loved, fed and exercised. They have their moments, and whilst they are all very sociable, sometimes we end up separating the two older labs from the beagle and the pointer-cross, as when all four start playing in the house, it’s a bit like having four sets of rival football hooligans running amok!

Today is no exception so the labs are confined to the kitchen and the other two are in the sitting room. However, the beagle suddenly appears in the kitchen, despite this being separated by solid oak doors, and a two foot-thick wall. Confused, I put him back in the sitting room. However, proving that he is in fact the cleverest dog in the pack, he has managed to work out how to use the sofa to spring onto a side table, and from there open an long disused serving hatch (which has a microwave now installed in it) in order to make an appearance on the kitchen worktop from behind said microwave. The resourcefulness of this dog reminds me of what we as a profession are going to need after this has all finished. He sees nothing as a blockage, just an obstacle to be overcome.

So finally, we have the Zoom meeting. There are some big names present, some of whom I’ve met, and others who I know by reputation only. Once again, the old imposter-syndrome kicks in and I wonder why I’m here. However, it’s apparent that there is a huge desire to join together to further unite the profession, especially those of us who are predominantly private. It’s apparent that we don’t have the voice that a huge sector of the profession needs.

Given the presence of some big characters, there is the fear that this endeavour might actually cause sparks and friction, however any differences are swiftly put aside and a very good meeting follows for the next 90 minutes. I don’t think I have been involved with something that has as much apparent traction and really hope this takes off in the way that it looks like it will. I think this is something that will have some impetus in the next few days, weeks, months and even years, and I’m left excited by the prospects of what the profession pulling together might now achieve. For those on Facebook, the page is the Independent Dentists Group*, so keep watching to see how this develops.

Finally, it’s time for some downtime with the family. We decide to watch a film, which is not something that would be normal for a Monday evening.

But what is normal at the moment?


*To access this group please visit: https://m.facebook.com/groups/220670435816057?group_view_referrer=profile_browser

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