Az Hyder explains how partnering with Dentex will help the development of Burgess & Hyder’s 12 practices, and how growing private treatments will complement the group’s NHS foundations.
Our group’s original practice started in County Durham 40 years ago. I joined as an associate 25 years ago – at this point there were two practices – and five years later I was a partner. Since then Burgess & Hyder Group has grown steadily; today we have 12 practices, with a 13th due to open later this year. Originally, we were 100% NHS, we grew by procuring NHS contracts, as well as acquiring practices, which range from Darlington in the south, up to Berwick on the Scottish border. We have also expanded our remit by winning one of the largest prison dental contacts in the country, across seven sites.
Over the years, I’ve been approached regularly by corporate bodies looking to acquire the group, but had never entertained the prospect. It was simply never in my mindset to sell having lived and breathed the group and put so much of myself into the business. Dentex approached me at a networking event and although I was initially sceptical, once I looked into them, I was intrigued by the concept of their co-ownership approach, offering partnership rather than simply buying me out.
It was always my vision to make Burgess & Hyder bigger and better. I am always looking to improve our facilities; the way we do things and the treatments we offer patients. As a group of 12 practices, this can be challenging and it had been on my mind for some time that the next stage required external help, especially in the areas of compliance and HR.
Dentex was also able to offer me solutions in the areas I needed, without me losing control or having to rebrand. I will quote Barry (Lanesman, Dentex CEO) here: ‘We’re investing in you, not just the practices.’ Throughout Dentex has been interested in me as a person and my skills, as we work together to develop the business. The group is not just buying me out or contracting me in for just a few years.
The deal was completed just a few weeks ago, but the business has already benefitted hugely from Dentex’s support in key areas. I’ve just left a meeting with Dentex’s HR director, who has already had a hugely positive impact. Dentex has a wealth of experience and is helping us manage our employees, which as a group of 12 practices was becoming a burdensome task. The staff have really embraced it as they already know their jobs will be made easier with the help of tried and tested solutions. Through the areas of HR, compliance and operation, Dentex has very well-qualified people and my group is tapping into all of these already.
As far as our clinical staff are concerned, Dentex’s clinical director Jason Bedford is already playing a big role. He has met with our dentists on a couple of occasions and is reviewing all their personal development plans and offering structure and guidance on future training, which will allow us to provide new services and further develop our existing treatments.
The group’s newest practice is at Wynyard, which opened 18 months ago and offers only private dentistry, including implants, restorative dentistry and orthodontics. This site in particular will benefit from Dentex’s support and experience in these areas. I’m also tapping into the expertise of other Dentex partners nearby.
I believe very strongly that NHS practices are in a very privileged position to use the NHS brand to offer mixed treatment. It’s my belief that the future of dentistry is good NHS practices underpinned with private treatment. Therefore, it is a huge opportunity getting Dentex on board to help us boost this area of our practices.
Dentex’s involvement and expertise will allow us to increase patient choice by mixing in and growing our private treatments; and more choice is better for patients.
Our group has a very strong brand and is well known in the local area. I wouldn’t entertain losing or diluting the brand and I don’t think the group would survive without it. Healthcare is all about trust, our brand is closely associated with the NHS and has been built up over the past 25 years. For me, partnering with Dentex wasn’t about selling up, but about growing the practices and making our group better with Dentex’s support.