Celebrating 25 years in dentistry – where it all started

celebrating 25 years in dentistryBupa Dental Care is celebrating its 25th anniversary – learn more about the team who have made the London Bank practice what it is today.

On 29 January 1999, Bupa began offering dental care after acquiring a small number of dental practices in central London. The largest of these is Bupa Dental Care London Bank, which has been operating from its current location since 2004.

This practice team, along with more than 8,000 employed and self-employed colleagues across the country, make up the Bupa Dental Care family. Some have long careers, others short, all contributing to 25 special years.

Sarah Barber, practice manager

Integral to the journey at London Bank is the practice manager, Sarah Barber, who has been there since the start. Sarah moved to London in 1991 as a newly qualified dental nurse. This marked the beginning of a rewarding career with Bupa Dental Care.

‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,’ Sarah said.

Sarah’s journey from dental nurse to practice manager, with other exciting roles in between, is a testament to the varied opportunities available within Bupa Dental Care.

‘I definitely didn’t see my career taking off like it did. I feel blessed to have had great managers who believed I was capable of more and gave me opportunities to grow and advance. Everything I’ve learnt along the way supports my day-to-day role at London Bank, especially as it’s such a big practice.’

Sarah remembers the 12-surgery site at 36 Cornhill, London as having a mix of clinicians and specialists under one roof. She notes: ‘The practice was quite advanced for its time, as it had specialists such as periodontists and endodontists in addition to general dentists.’

The team moved to the purpose-built 77 Cornhill practice in 2004. The 13-chair practice provides routine care to more complex treatments, from dental implants to periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics and prosthodontics. There’s even a specialist available to treat patients with dental anxiety.

Sarah considers the practice a ‘beacon of excellence’. This is all thanks to the invaluable contributions of a team of 54 exceptional dental professionals.

Anne Heelan, dentist

One of the long-serving members of the team is general dentist Anne Heelan. Anne has also been at the practice since its inception.

Qualifying in Dublin in 1992, Anne worked in mixed NHS and private practices in the UK and Australia. She then returned to London in search of a well-run practice where she could deliver excellent patient care. Anne found that Bupa was the perfect fit for her. She commented: ‘Joining Bupa has given me clinical freedom without the worry of running a practice, and it has been a joy to work here for 25 years.’

Reflecting on her career over two decades, Anne is most pleased that dental nurses are now getting the industry recognition they deserve.

‘We’ve come so far and it’s excellent that nursing is now seen as a career, and the sector acknowledges their invaluable role. I feel so lucky we have such a diverse, highly qualified and engaged team of nurses,’ she added.

Anne holds a master’s degree in healthcare ethics and law and is deeply committed to ensuring positive outcomes for patients. She believes that the digital age has revolutionised the patient journey.

According to Anne: ‘Digital dentistry has seen tremendous growth over the years and at Bupa Dental Care we have a unique opportunity to leverage new technologies in practice and social media to educate patients about the possibilities available to them. It’s a rich space and exciting time for dentists.’

Anne is one of more than 20 clinicians at the practice. Sarah notes that they have some of the most skilled and talented clinicians and specialists in the industry, allowing them to test and trial the latest dental care innovations.

Luca Nigrelli, dentist

Luca Nigrelli, one of their more recently qualified clinicians, is dedicated to adopting new technologies and providing exceptional patient care. According to Luca, it’s an exciting time to be in the field of dentistry, and there is much more to expect in the future.

He said: ‘During the initial examination, it’s great to offer new patients a digital experience that fosters collaboration, rather than just informing them about their needs – and this is just the beginning of the digital opportunities available in dentistry.’

Sarah is passionate about nurturing and mentoring more people, just like Luca. She strongly believes that we should always try to give back to each and every individual.

‘If you see something special in someone, you should always try to help them bring it out. It’s something Bupa does extremely well by investing in homegrown talent.’

celebrating 25 years in dentistry

There’s no ‘I’ in team

Sarah cherishes the recent memory of winning Team of the Year at The Dentistry Awards. She feels that it was the result of several years of hard work that went into moving into their new building.

‘It was the cherry on the cake and I’m extremely proud of the team – they truly deserve this recognition. Another highlight, thanks to being a part of this practice for 25 years, is that I occasionally see some of the patients in the waiting room that I saw when starting out as a dental nurse.’

Sarah’s number one piece of advice for anyone to remember is that there’s no ‘I’ in team.

‘This sentiment holds true especially here, where we can achieve incredible things together. For me, it’s about being resilient and passionate towards the vision of our inspiring leaders,’ she concluded.

Sarah and her team embody the ethos of Bupa Dental Care, marked by continuous learning, mentorship, and never standing still.

Over time, Bupa Dental Care has expanded by acquiring many more practices, some of which have been in operation for more than 25 years. This has solidified its position as one of the leading dental care providers in the UK and Ireland, driven by its purpose to help people live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

For more information about Bupa Dental Care London Bank, visit www.bupa.co.uk/dental/dental-care/practices/london-bank.

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