Refurbishing a practice during lockdown

Out of adversity comes opportunity, best describes the journey of Dr Jasdeep Hall during lockdown.

Out of adversity comes opportunity – albeit in rather challenging circumstances. For those with vision and positive spirit, 2020 has offered up the chance to flourish and thrive.

However, amidst a climate of chaos and uncertainty, dentistry has been more about surviving than thriving.

But there have been some positive stories within the profession. One of them belongs to dentist Dr Jasdeep Hall, who rather bravely chose lockdown to refurbish her recently acquired practice.

Forced to close the doors on Burnham Dental Practice, a mixed practice in Essex, she did what she seemingly does best in times of flux and forged ahead anyway – despite coinciding with a downturn in business activity.

With planning permission already in the bag and cabinetry and chairs chosen, Jasdeep simply waited for the lifting of restrictions before calling in SPS Dental to renovate the practice located in a turn-of-the-century building in the pretty riverside town of Burnham-on-Crouch.

Jasdeep has certainly seen some ups and downs of late. She was heavily pregnant whilst enduring a painfully long and drawn-out purchase of the practice a couple of years back.

Her baby son Oliver contracted sepsis the day after his birth. Husband Matthew, an NHS consultant doctor, was quick to react to the signs and they raced him to A&E. Roll on two years and Matthew is now working on the NHS hospital frontline, whilst the couple juggle childcare with Jasdeep still doing her best in running the practice.

Specialists onboard

Jasdeep had a determination to open the additional surgery in October. She recruited additional members to her team during lockdown, which took place over the phone and via Zoom. The team now includes an implantologist and an endodontist. This provides the practice with more of a specialist skill set. It also helps keep services local, which is ideal for the elderly and vulnerable.

As she says: ‘Struggles in life come along and overcoming them really depends on how you cope with them.’

Recalling the journey, she says: ‘I saw this practice come up for sale in 2016. I wanted to view it but couldn’t because the owner was in hospital.

‘While on holiday, it came onto market again. Eventually, it went to bidding.

‘In April 2018, my offer was accepted. We exchanged and completed and I gave birth to my son in August. He contracted sepsis and, in less than 24 hours, he was in paediatric intensive care. It was a challenging time, to say the least.’

Creating a dream practice

Determined to create the practice of her dreams, she set about laying the foundations for an additional surgery.

She explains: ‘We had the two ground-floor surgeries when we bought the business. The gentleman upstairs owned and used it as a residential space. He sold to us and we then decided to expand the business by turning the first floor into a commercial space. We had the view of introducing a spacious private dental surgery and a spacious adjacent waiting room.’

Located in Burnham on Crouch in Essex, the practice overlooks the river within a beautiful town full of history and culture.

The build

Jasdeep says: ‘The practice has a convenient location on the high street and has become part of the conversation list. The building has a standard it has to meet with regards to the appearance. The town is keen to retain some of its charm and character in amongst modernisation.

‘We had to apply for planning prior to the work because the practice is located in the conservation area. The surgery works then started – this involved demolishing a kitchen and creating a divide with a glass panel to separate the rooms.

‘I now am looking to order a few items such as small table, chairs and a large mirror to give the final complete look to the surgery.’

The design

In keeping with the ground floor surgeries, Jasdeep decided to take on board a similar design approach. She used a bright and bold colour feature facing wall to match the colour of the upholstery with a subtle colour scheme for the units and wood-effect flooring to create an earthy feel.

She says: ‘Bright colours create positive energy and we wanted to stick with this idea. Our website and artwork have a blue theme, so we wanted to incorporate this colour into the surgery design.’

Working through lockdown

With lockdown restrictions eased but still not able to open, Jasdeep seized an opportunity to refurbish the practice without disrupting her loyal patient base. The operation took three weeks for materials to be delivered and three weeks of labour, followed by one week for software installation.

Jasdeep explains: ‘The refurbishment was conducted during the pandemic period once lockdown eased in the summer months. Although we consulted over the design using Zoom, emails and phone calls whilst we were in lockdown. This gave us plenty of time to consider style and colour schemes and so on and helped us plan around operating times more efficiently.’

Miraculously, considering all the drawbacks COVID-19 brought for businesses, only one hiccup occurred along the way. ‘The frosted glass panel door, which aimed to create privacy and modernity to the surgery, created a bit of an issue as this was not fitting correctly. This was due to the older nature of the building, hence there were some uneven lines that had to be considered.’

End result

She is delighted with the end result. ‘There are crisp, clean lines, with one bold colour as a focal point. The spaciousness created in the surgery is exactly what I was looking to achieve as most surgeries these days are small and cramped,’ she says.

The Belmont chairs she chose have become an extension of the comfortable ambience created by the surgery design.

Jasdeep explains: ‘We have Belmont chairs in our ground-floor surgeries and I have fallen in love with the comfort and design. Not one patient has ever complained about our chairs – and some
of them have even requested one for their home!

‘SPS Dental were on hand throughout the refurb. They visited the surgery to help with design and give advice.’

Jasdeep says: ‘I had heard from other dentists that their work was thorough and efficient. They were key in helping me select the right chair.’

The additional surgery opened on 5 October 2020. Jasdeep is hoping this extension will accommodate an uplift in the number of private patients her team is seeing. Jasdeep says the staff ‘love the design and we can’t wait to start using the surgery’.

She adds: ‘I couldn’t have done any of this without the support from my husband, my parents and brother and, most of all, my good friend and practice manager, Lauren Adams.’

This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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