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Award-winning dental practice expands services with support from Wesleyan

Award-winning dental practice expands services with support from Wesleyan

The Old Surgery makes six-figure investment to redevelop additional practice building.


The business

For 120 years The Old Surgery in Crewe existed as a medical practice until it was re-opened as a dental practice by owner Steve Lomas.

Steve has a specialist interest in the management of tooth wear, especially early diagnosis and intervention to prevent more severe problems occurring later in life.

This led to him becoming one of only a handful of UK dentists to have completed the full Dawson Academy training pathway, assisting him to fully understand the whole masticatory system including being able to help with uncomfortable bites and clicking joints.

Lisa Bainham joined Steve Lomas as Practice Manager of The Old Surgery when it opened in 1998, having originally worked in an orthodontic practice and qualified as a dental nurse at North Staffordshire Hospital.

Lisa's all-encompassing role sees her cover a variety of aspects, from health and safety to marketing, to ensure the practice runs smoothly and efficiently.

Richard Willis became a partner at the practice in 2000. Collectively, the team of 30 highly skilled staff have helped The Old Surgery to grow into a six-surgery practice offering high quality restorative and cosmetic dentistry offering predominantly private and some NHS treatments.

The practice's commitment to maintaining service quality and investing in the latest equipment and staff training has seen it win a host of accolades, including 'Best Practice UK' and 'Best Patient Care UK' at the Dentistry Awards in 2016.

The challenge

As a result of The Old Surgery's success, the practice wanted to further expand its services to maintain and grow its strong patient base in addition to improving efficiency to maximise revenues.

As available capacity was limited, the owners decided to lease a commercial building which was situated 100 yards from the main dental practice and sought planning consent to turn it into a second, state-of-the-art surgery.

Lisa Bainham was responsible for project managing the re-development of the building and sought funding to finance a six-figure investment in modern dental equipment and technology, reception furniture, lighting, flooring and plumbing.

Many practice owners choose to finance their practice refurbishment through a loan to make it more affordable by spreading costs. This also potentially allows an increase in the overall budget so the refurbishment works can be carried out to a higher standard without having to utilise all financial reserves which can restrict a practice's cash flow.

"Although we had utilised funding from other financial providers previously, we were seeking to partner with a trusted specialist who could fulfil all of the practice's commercial finance and business insurance needs under one roof," says Lisa.

The solution

Lisa was introduced to Wesleyan, one of the UK's leading financial services providers dedicated to offering tailored advice and solutions to clients in the dental sector, due to her longstanding relationship with Practice Plan.

Part of the Wesleyan group of companies, Practice Plan provide practice-branded membership plans and comprehensive business support services for dental practices and have worked closely with The Old Surgery since 2012.

The practice's membership plan provides its patients with an affordable way to cover the cost of routine dental care needs (examinations, hygiene services, x-rays etc) and they are entitled to discounts on additional treatments.

As part of their membership with Practice Plan, The Old Surgery's staff also benefit from access to bespoke training and development services delivered by leading business consultants.

"The ongoing support from Practice Plan and our Regional Support Manager has always been exemplary, especially when we were transitioning away from the NHS as they ensured the process was seamless.

"Their expert marketing consultancy services have also been influential in helping us to develop a strong brand identity. As such, most of our patients are on a membership plan which has been a key driver in the practice's growth," comments Lisa.

Tailored financial solutions and advice from one, trusted source

Wesleyan's General Insurance (GI) division arranged surgery insurance to protect The Old Surgery against the loss, or damage to its building and contents, including interruption to the business or loss of income cover.

The end-to-end process comprised a Wesleyan Financial Consultant conducting a free appraisal to assess whether the practice's current cover was adequate for its needs and included advice on potential gaps and areas of concern.

After completing a survey of risk, Wesleyan selected a suitable insurance policy by evaluating a panel of leading providers, so the practice could be confident that it was getting cover that was right for its business.

Wesleyan's GI team subsequently recommended Wesleyan Bank to deliver the necessary six-figure funding that The Old Surgery required to complete the redevelopment and refit of the second practice building to create a centre of dental excellence.

Part of the Wesleyan Group of companies, Wesleyan Bank provides flexible short, medium and long-term solutions to enable dental professionals to spread the cost of their investments over time.

These include loans to facilitate the purchase of new assets (IT software and hardware, specialist dental equipment etc), as well as surgery building refurbishments and relocations, practice acquisitions, commercial mortgages and partner buy-ins and buy-outs.

Wesleyan Bank was able to provide an unsecured loan facility over a term of five years to enable The Old Surgery to spread the cost of the refurbishments in a convenient and affordable way.

"From the outset it was apparent that Wesleyan really understood our business and the challenges facing dental practices. It was reassuring to talk to specialists who quickly identified the solutions we needed and who genuinely wanted to do everything they could to fulfil our requirements which made for a painless process," explains Lisa.

The results and benefits

The building refurbishment project has now been completed to a high standard and thanks to the support from Wesleyan The Old Surgery's staff and patients are delighted with the addition of newly enhanced treatments which are being carried out in modern, spacious surroundings.

Once the funding was in place from Wesleyan Bank, the practice was able to utilise the loan to pay multiple tradesmen over time as opposed to one-off lump sums to better manage its cash flow and preserve vital working capital.

"It was refreshing to be able to speak to one knowledgeable and trusted point of contact who was always on hand to promptly answer our queries. We were not passed around multiple departments and asked to provide the same information again or made to feel that we had to jump through hoops, which can sometimes be the case when approaching high street lenders for financial assistance,"

"The project has been a great success and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Wesleyan as it has played an integral part in driving our next phase of growth," adds Lisa.

'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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