The Parade Dental Practice in Epsom opened in 1928 and whilst it had been well maintained and the team was praised on their excellent patient experience and care, the practice embarked on a full refit in 2023.
So, how did the process start for such an exciting project? Dentex’s property team stepped in to further modernise the practice, helping them to formalise a plan of action, put a team in place and create a realistic budget for the work required. Emma Louise Sparks, The Parade’s practice manager, worked closely with Zen Khan, Property Portfolio Manager at Dentex, throughout the whole project, from concept through to completion.
What were the goals?
- The team were keen to modernise and attract a new demographic of patients, while continuing to provide excellent care for existing patients.
- Create a better patient journey: on entry, the layout could be improved, and the decor was a little dark and brightening up the room was a key goal.
- To further improve the working conditions for the team making it the best it can be day in and day out (taking into account individual needs).
- To complete the work without closing the surgery and with as little disruption as possible to patients (including no appointment cancellations or postponements), resulting in no loss of revenue.
- Maintain the safety and wellbeing of the team and patients throughout and the cleanliness of the practice.
What did the process look like?
First stage was to rethink the practice’s branding: Emma and the team worked with Dentex Marketing to finalise a new colour scheme and logos, which then fed into the interior design of the practice.
Appointing the right contractor was key, especially with the practice staying open throughout the work; The Parade Dental needed a contractor experienced and sympathetic to their needs. Zen helped assess the best team for the job and Pickett Shopfitters Ltd was appointed, with Nick Crisp as Project Manager.
“Zen was absolutely fundamental in getting the right people for the right job,” Emma says, and this resulted in a great working relationship between the contractors and The Parade team from day one, despite the difficulties of work taking place while the practice was open.
Business as usual
While staying open may sound like a challenge, The Parade Dental Practice not only remained open throughout the refurbishment process, they even had a Google review from one patient praising them for how well they’d managed the disruption.
For Emma, she stresses that keeping everyone informed of what was happening in advance was crucial, and she was able to keep The Parade open thanks to her team who were all “willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved!” She adds that preparation was key to ensure the practice was able to run as smoothly as possible while certain facilities were unavailable.
For Nick, the biggest challenge was trying to ensure patients weren’t “conscious” of work being carried out: this meant doing the most disruptive work outside of opening hours, and being diligent with cleanliness at all times.
What have the results been?
With work now complete, the changes have had an immediate effect for both The Parade’s team and its patients.
Feedback from patients has been incredibly positive – including that the practice feels friendlier, more open and more modern – while one patient also noted that the restructured space felt ‘calmer’. Perhaps the biggest compliment came from an overheard conversation in the local pub, Emma describes: “Two patients were heard discussing how great the practice looked. It’s amazing to hear that people are noticing and impressed by it.”
While some of the changes are immediately obvious – the practice is much brighter and the layout is much easier to navigate – it’s some of the less obvious ones that have made the biggest impact.
For example, one dentist was keen for more natural light in her surgery – the restructure allowed not only for this to be made possible, but for access to be improved at the same time. This surgery can now be directly accessed by patients with disabilities or mobility issues, negating the need for them to go via the entrance.
Perhaps one of the biggest success stories has been how smooth the process has been for all involved, despite unexpected issues that arose along the way. The work was completed within three months, and the team are now enjoying their new practice: “It’s definitely given us all a big morale boost” Emma says.