The stars of the show – Cathal Hayes is the Clinical Director of Centre for Dentistry

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  Posted by: Dental Design      11th October 2018

For any and every provider of dental care, I think the professional team in the practice is key to delivering an outstanding service to patients. This is no different within a group structure, as the skills, attitude, commitment and leadership of individuals all make a huge difference to how each practice is managed on a day-to-day basis, therefore influencing the standard of patient care.

A focus on quality in every aspect is crucial for modern dental service providers, in relation to everything from treatment to materials, physical environment and staff training. To increase the standard of care that dentists deliver to their patients, I believe that facilitating continuing professional development (CPD) and offering various training courses is hugely beneficial. Our practice professionals are very much the stars of the show and we want to help them thrive. From a patient’s perspective, this gives them access to highly skilled professionals who can take on more complicated cases and deliver the treatment needed.

Patients are becoming more demanding and they are definitely better informed than they once were – which is a good thing. However, they do expect more from the dental team and it’s necessary to help practice teams to meet or even exceed these expectations. This involves continuous training and education, which should be not only supported but also made easier for individuals by the business. This investment in clinicians is a very worthy one.


It all starts with professional training

Training for the dental team is still very much focused on clinical aspects, as the gold standard in all clinical areas needs to be achieved before a high level of service can be provided. That said, development of some non-clinical skill sets such as communication, leadership and team management is important as well, particularly when it comes to driving a practice forward so that it can care for more patients in the right way. Training should therefore cover both areas.

Core CPD opportunities is at the heart of every professional’s on-going education, with courses in medical emergencies, risk management, complaint management and decontamination and disinfection all being required. Giving individuals the opportunity to share their own ideas and get involved in the clinical direction of the company can also be fruitful.

At Centre for Dentistry, we hold meetings around the country to deliver CPD and give clinical members of staff the chance to participate in a roundtable session, discussing the clinical direction of the company. We think it’s important to hear the perspectives of our dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists, as they often differ and therefore provide fresh ideas.

One size does not fit all when it comes to training and education. While some of the CPD – especially that which covers core topics – is relevant for dental nurses, there are many more opportunities for professionals to move forward. For dental nurses we offer the GEMS System, which provides clear steps of a career pathway within Centre for Dentistry and facilitates progression. It encourages all our dental nurses to develop their skills and achieve the goals they aspire to for a more rewarding career.


Bursary opportunity

Like any dental provider, we are only as good as our dentists. As a group we highlighted this early on and it was the initial driving force behind our bursary scheme. This programme is designed to raise our dentists’ profiles and help them along their chosen career path – ultimately, it’s about enabling them to become the dentists they’ve always wanted to be. Actually, everyone wins – the dentist gets the support they need to progress, the practice gets happier and more skilled dentists and patients have access to more highly qualified professionals who can offer a wider range of treatments.

Our panel evaluate all applications, considering each candidate’s five-year plan and ambitions, as well as how we can support their future plans. We aim to cover approximately 30% of the financial cost of a postgraduate course – which is usually fairly substantial training that will change how the dentist practises and often result in an additional qualification. We are also very willing to be flexible in other areas, such as when our dentists need to change their practice working hours to accommodate their learning without losing their regular income.


Investing in the future of dentistry

As a member of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), we share in the ethos that quality dentistry comes from highly skilled dental teams. We believe that investing in our professionals is really what will drive our company forwards and enable us to provide high quality care for more patients. This is, after all, what dentistry is all about.

For more information about the ADG visit








Author bio:

Cathal Hayes is the Clinical Director of Centre for Dentistry which is an active member of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG). He completed his BDS in Cork, Ireland and his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Hult International Business School, Boston, USA. His focus is on empowering the dentists within Centre for Dentistry to reach their clinical potential and to drive successful practice development.



The views expressed in this article are by individual ADG members are intended to stimulate constructive debate about current issues in dentistry. Thoughts are the authors’ own and not necessarily those of the ADG.

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