So the hard manual labour is complete and I ‘think’ the surgery is ready to open. I have one major test ahead of me, the “dreaded” CQC inspection. The CQC or Care Quality Commission is a “feared” name in the dental world. Everyone talks about it with all these scare stories of the inspectors coming up with ludicrous demands and outrageous requests for compliance, so understandably I was a little apprehensive. There are over 28 policies that as a dental practice you have to comply with to be deemed safe to both the general public and as an employer and although that doesn’t sound too bad those policies cover over 2000 pages of typed script. I guess looking back ignorance is bliss and I had no idea how big a task I had set myself at the start but as always once you are committed there is no turning back and fortune favours the brave and my inspector was a true delight to spend the day with. She was caring, understanding and encouraging. I in effect had a four hour verbal exam on all 28 policies and although I couldn’t say I flew it with flying colours I did a pretty good job and was awarded ‘Dental practice’ status 3 days later once a few documents had been submitted.
I could now officially open and with my little team of Wendy my receptionist and Chloe my nurse we jumped feet first into the unknown of day 1 of Moreton Dental. And I guess the unknown is the scariest thing in life. I had done lots of business plans and projections but I had no idea how long we’d actually have to wait until we saw our first patient. Well we never sat and waited. First morning we walked the high street popping leaflets through the doors. It was raining and windy and I was exhausted, both physically and mentally like I had never been before in my entire life. The build and the stress that 9 months of planning can do to you when you are setting up a new business is indescribable until you have been there yourself but my little team were enthusiastic and proactive and I just about managed to function on auto pilot. And then people came, it really was as simple as that. After all the stress and the ‘what if’s’, the door was open and people walked in. We did a few more leaflets but on the whole I realised that Wendy basically knew the whole of Moreton; and if she didn’t know you she knew someone that knew someone but most of all she made people feel welcomed. I hope in a way, as I had envisaged, they forgot momentarily they were in a dental surgery but instead in an environment that made them ‘feel’ at ease and more importantly that we really do care. My favourite motto at the time was ‘do the right thing for the right reason and people will come.’ I may even have that written on a wall in the practice so I never forget it.
As always there are so many people to thank along the way that got me to where I am at this point. To my close family and friends who urged me to press on even though I thought I had nothing left to give. My little team who hardly knew me yet were doing everything they could to help me. They took on new challenges fearlessly, cheerfully and most importantly they bought into why I had done it, even though at the time I could hardly string two words together through the fatigue. To my first patients who took the risk to try somebody new to look after their health and well-being, I will always be humbled by the trust a patient puts in me. And finally to all the people who do the little things, the unsung heros who are the glue behind the scenes, who I know I can speak to day or night and will help me however big or small the favour. Sometimes I don’t even know why they are helping me but they do and that kindness shines so bright it inspires me to go on and help others and the circle of generosity continues.
‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou