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“Getting help in all the right places”

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  Posted by: The Probe      27th June 2022

Dr Phil Barton a dentist at Pemberton Dental in Wigan, which joined the Rodericks Dental family in 2021. Here, he talks about his experience with selling, the lead up to his decision and how practice life has been since the changeover.


I was getting closer to retirement, but my enthusiasm for dentistry was higher than it had been in years. In the past, I had suffered from burnout and the overwhelming nature of running a practice had got to me. Then I had a psychological awakening – I told myself, ‘You’re doing the best you can, so chill out, but get back into right frame of mind because you enjoy the work.’

What I had had enough of, though, was the overregulation. It dawned on me that I didn’t want to retire, I wanted to free myself from all the paperwork; the accreditations, the policies … this was the problem, not the dentistry. I also enjoyed the rapport that I had with the patients that I had built over many years. Fundamentally, I needed dentistry for own validation, to know that I had something to offer.

Big companies operate with multiple departments; IT, HR, Health & Safety, Accounts and the rest. As a dentist you have to do all this without training, which had led me down the route of stress, anxiety and depression. I had already taken the practice mostly private, so thought it was worth having a chat with corporates who we could work with without feeling like the character was being sucked out of us. Rodericks was recommended by one of our previous associates. At this point, I had turned down a couple offers from other corporates, so gave them a call.

Forging a fruitful relationship

I didn’t want to tie in with a corporate, work for a short while, then retire; I wanted a fruitful relationship. My main goals were, first, to improve the service and range of treatments we were offering. Next, to get relief from the paperwork and organisation side of things and for our compliance to be tip-top so I didn’t have to worry about it. I wanted to be able to offer more education and pathways to professional and personal development for the staff. Also, to get fair remuneration when I ceased being a practice owner and became an associate. I could achieve all these things with Rodericks.

During the transaction, communication was good. Selling is a stressful situation – there is a high volume of work involved ­– but the process was handled well. I never got the sense that Rodericks was not being transparent. The people I worked with on the acquisitions team, Faye Gibson and Steve McCarron, were wonderful – I can’t say anything negative about our experience. Rodericks were positive and helpful and willing to answer any questions.

Rodericks had things in place that I wasn’t able to manage on my own; websites for CPD, a newsletter, checklists for compliance etc. If you’re a full-time clinical dentist and throw all this in too, your clinical production would halve. One of the team has already attended first aid training and we’ve had opportunities for CPD, which is great.

Post-sale, it’s going well. We have staff who have been at the practice for decades and I’m happy to report that not one has said, “I don’t like what’s happening here.” We’ve had someone come in to make improvements to our computer system which I had been trying to get to grips with for years, so we can now action things like automated emails for patient communications – this is where their expertise is.

You simply can’t do everything on your own. In football, the goalkeeper hones their skills for that position and it’s the same in dentistry – we cannot be all things to all people. That’s the main benefit for me, we’re getting help in all the right places.

A relaxed way of working

Since the changeover, we have a relaxed way of working. To perform quality dentistry, you need to be in a state of relaxed concentration, not anxiety-induced fear. It concerns me that many young dentists work in an atmosphere of fear due to worries about litigation, or their lack of clinical training.

If I was talking to practice owners thinking about selling, or finding a new partnership, I would say, keep an open mind. Appreciate the time you are spending on admin and compliance. If you were free from that, how much more productive could you be?

Also consider your work-life balance. Being too tired to enjoy your family, or spend time with your partner, leads to stress and depression and this is why the profession has a higher-than-average rate of mental health problems. If anyone is getting to this point in an established practice, I would suggest looking at the options.

I fully recommend Rodericks Dentalnot just because of the organisation, but also their friendly and amenable approach. In dentistry, it’s been fear-based for so long and I would like to give credit to how nice everyone has been – it’s nice to be kind and helpful. My wife and my daughter say I’m like a different person since we became a Rodericks practice – what a positive!”


For more information on the career opportunities available at Rodericks, please visit,

or contact Ashley Lillyman at or on

01604 970988 (option 1)

#wearerodericks Offers UK Dental Practice Owners The Chance To Sell Their Practices For A Premium Price. We Are One Of The UKs Leading Company's In The Sector.

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