Dentistry awards: First past the post!
Belmore Dental Clinic in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, was established almost eight years ago – and last year achieved outstanding success at the Dentistry Awards, winning the overall Best Team UK.
On the night, held at the Athena in Leicester, the clinic’s Rory McEnhill, who qualified in 2001, picked up the award for Best Young Dentist Northern Ireland with the practice also taking the Best Team Northern Ireland.
Practice principal, Sinead McEnhill, was elated. She says: ‘These awards are a wonderful reward for all the hard work and effort that has been undertaken over the years. The practice has an unyielding commitment to providing high quality dentistry and maintaining clinical excellence. All team members strive to develop and extend their skills to allow our patients to receive the most up-to-date dentistry, and provide it in the most stress-free and caring manner; client care is our priority.
‘It is a massive achievement for a team in Northern Ireland to gain such an accolade, and it is especially satisfying to know we are being recognised by our peers for excellence in dentistry. This elevates Belmore Dental Clinic into the pantheon of high quality UK award-winning establishments. I am also very proud for Rory to have been recognised for his active interest in staying at the top of the profession.’
2010 had been a monumental year for the practice. While busy in practice, the team undertook a hugely successful programme of charitable events. Here, Sinead McEnhill and Rory McEnhill shed light on the secret of their success…
Team players – Best Team UK
Have the awards helped attract new patients?
The awards have definitely created considerable excitement locally; after all, it is not often that a local dental practice wins an overall UK dental team award.
Naturally, we have attracted a lot of enquiries as a result, not just locally but countrywide.
Has winning the awards had an impact on your practice/team?
Yes, I feel that the team is very proud, and self esteem has been boosted dramatically. It has bonded our team unit yet further and has added to the overall feelgood nature of the practice.
Will you be entering again?
We haven’t decided yet but I do think the awards are a great vessel, purely for focusing the team on goals for the months ahead – it boosts enthusiasm and creates better practice and maximises dental experience for our patients.
What do you think is the secret behind a good team?
Being approachable, and letting everyone have their say. I feel all members of the staff have dental and managerial input, allowing new improved procedures to be put in position.
It’s important that all members of the team feel valued and look forward to coming to work.
The rapport we have is evident to any patient who enters Belmore Dental Clinic.
Will you market yourself as award winners?
Absolutely, I think that the public should know that they have a high quality service available in their midst. Winning awards as judged by our dental peers is verification of this fact.
How often do you meet together as a team?
We meet weekly, but smaller issues are discussed daily.
Are there any outside activities the practice team is involved in – charity work, community event?
We have been massively active on the charity front in the last year, having raised over £55,000 for two local charities, Horizons West Children’s hospice and The Children’s Heartbeat Trust NI. As a team, we ran the Paris marathon in 2010 and ran the Lakeland Dental Symposium, a weekend event that was very generously supported, presented by world-class lecturers, all of whom gave their time and expertise without remuneration. To these amazing people, our team owe a debt of gratitude. Next week, the team are participating in the Connemara Adventure Challenge, a triathlon in the beautiful mountains of Western Ireland.
Did you have a vision of the kind of practice you wanted?
Yes, it was always very simple. I just wanted to have a practice ethos where the dominant focus on postgraduate education would allow our patients the best possible service.
What is the secret of good practice/team management?
Apart from keeping abreast of new developments and requirements within the profession, I feel that the Investors in People framework offers a useful standard to follow with the Plan, Do Review principle.
It encourages staff engagement, and improves management effectiveness by re-evaluating and continuously improving performance.
What incentives do you offer your staff?
Team building trips are popular as our three-monthly social get-togethers. The day-to-day things, such as being flexible about hours, are important, so too are the performance-related bonuses.
What makes the Belmore Dental Clinic and its team stand out from the crowd?
Belmore Dental Clinic has a palpable feelgood factor even from the moment the patient comes through the door. A combination of cosy homely décor and the excellent customer service from the reception team immediately puts the patient at ease.
On a clinical level, the dentists have a large repertoire of dental procedures at their disposal from the ordinary to the advanced. I think the most important thing however is being able to relay such treatments to the patient and making the effort to help them understand it all. Definitely good communication is the cornerstone for success.
Were there any difficulties to overcome before achieving success?
Finding the right team took a number of years, as I am sure any employer would agree. Now things could not be better.
Have you needed to adapt to a changing world regarding dentistry?
Aside from all the recent controversial legislations and increased bureaucratic burden being brought in to play, really the drive from all of us has been to improve on our clinical expertise and simply offering a better level of service.
Patients will talk about a positive experience at the dentist and this will play a much larger part in another’s decision-making process, more so than simply looking at a variety of advertisements in a directory.
What are the aims of the practice for this year?
The practice had a very big year last year with the variety of charity events that we ran. This year we will concentrate on investing in the professional development of the staff with some of our nurses ready to sit their nursing qualifications.
The more experienced nurses are working on oral health, IV sedation and radiography qualifications. Then there are the reception staff who have interests in marketing and business management. I think that such an investment in staff improves motivation and loyalty and really helps to overcome what can be a business with a high staff turnover.
On a lighter note, there is currently a Belmore baby boom; two of our nurses have just had babies and our therapist due in only a few weeks.
What is the future for Belmore Dental Clinic?
We have plans afoot to extend the premises significantly, and are at the mercy of the planners as we speak.
Rory to go – Best Young Dentist Northern Ireland
What has been your inspiration?
My dental awareness.
How do you do it differently?
My emphasis is always on the provision of high quality dentistry. Mindful of the numerous avenues of dental advancement, I have invested heavily in my post-graduate education to keep abreast of any new developments. I can then incorporate these developments into my every day practice and offer patients the most effective and modern service.
For how long did you consider dentistry as your chosen profession?
Originally, I had intended studying medicine, however with the benefit of my elder siblings medical friends, I was counselled into changing to dentistry.
When did you join Belmore?
I joined in autumn 2006 and originally worked on a part-time basis at the practice, while working in London and commuting back and forth.
How do you create the right environment for patients?
The patients are treated with courtesy when they arrive by the reception staff, and when they see the dentist, time is always taken to make the patient feel comfortable. The practice is very patient centred and working in a small town there is a real sense of community.
Of course, winning awards is massively beneficial, as this shows patients our commitment to excellence and affords them the knowledge that they are in safe hands.
If asked, what would patients say are your strengths?
My patient’s would say that I am a good listener, always allowing the patient to effectively convey their concerns. Allied to the previous statement, my communication with patients is thorough and they would say that I always take adequate time to explain all the intricacies of treatment.
How do you see your future?
My future will be very similar to my present, continuing to increase my knowledge base and providing patients with the best care that I can provide.
I am studying for an MSc in restorative/aesthetic dentistry at University of Manchester, so this will keep me busy for the next while. Although, I would hope that I will find a bit more time to get on the golf course and lower my stubbornly high handicap.
What has winning this award meant to you and the practice?
The awards have been a wonderful recognition to myself and to the practice. It’s a fabulous honour to have been successful and recognised by your peers.
Would you recommend other young dentists to enter the Dentistry Awards?
Definitely, to enter these awards allows young dentists a platform to showcase their work and highlight their unique talents to a wider audience.
Do you have any advice for newly qualified dentists?
The only advice that I would give is to quickly understand that qualification is only the end of the beginning for dentists, in that it is very important not to rest on your laurels and always push yourself onto the next level.
Is there anything in you ‘toolkit’ you wouldn’t be without?
My Canon camera is indispensible, aside from record-keeping it’s a wonderful tool for motivating and stimulating patients.
How do you do it differently?
My emphasis is always on the provision of high quality dentistry. Mindful of the numerous avenues of dental advancement, I have invested heavily in my post-graduate education to keep abreast of new developments.
I strive to incorporate these into my every day practice and offer patients the most effective, patient-focused treatment and care.
Why do you think you won?
Although my award entry was heavily centred on provision of dentistry and my post-graduate education, there was a great deal of emphasis on charitable work and fundraising carried out by the practice at home and abroad.
Is the sibling rivalry a healthy addition to the clinic?
Undoubtedly, sibling rivalry has been a very good stimulus for all the family as we are all a competitive bunch.
However, there has never been any element of one-upmanship, instead an ethos of striving to learn and improve has always been cultivated.
It also helps that all my siblings operate in slightly different spheres of dentistry, so never come into direct competition.
If you would like to follow Belmore Dental Clinic’s lead, then entries for the 2011 Dentistry Awards are open. 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. An ‘early bird’ offer of £35+VAT per category is available until 1 July, thereafter £50+VAT per category. Full details can be found at www.dentistry.co.uk/awards. For more information, call Kirsty on 01923 851739 or email [email protected]
If you fancy entering the website awards, visit www.dentistry.co.uk/webawards. All entries close on Friday 9 September.