22nd May 2017
Southside Dental Care and their huge increase in dental patient enquiries
Dentistry Scotland Awards Southside Dental Care walked away with Practice of the Year, Best NHS Practice and Best Team at 2016’s Dentistry Scotland Awards. We catch up with Leanne Branton, to find out what makes her practice so successful.
Seb Evans (SE): How does it feel to have been named Practice of the Year?
Leanne Branton (LB): It was a total surprise. We didn’t even realise Practice of the Year was an award category. We’d won two of the three awards categories we entered and we were over the moon. Then suddenly we were getting called for Practice of the Year, it was a shock!
SE: Did you enjoy the evening?
LB: Absolutely, it was superb, we had a really good time. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with other practices as well. We used it as excuse to have a practice night out and brought the whole team down. We all go out as a team frequently but this was something really special.
SE: Why did you choose to enter the Dentistry Scotland Awards?
LB: We’ve been open as a practice for almost nine years now and things have really come together over the last few years. We have a strong long-term team and have invested a lot in developing their different skills. It just seemed like the right time to do it – we thought we maybe stood a chance!
SE: Why do you think you won?
LB: I think that we strive to offer really great customer service to our patients. I think for an NHS practice we do try and go above and beyond and I think that’s paying off. We started out with the aim to do that from the start and it’s something we’ve built on. It’s all beginning to come together now. We’re an entirely NHS practice, but we offer a full range of private treatments as well. We have visiting clinicians that come in and provide orthodontics, implants, facial aesthetics and everything for our patients. I think our patients like that because they’ve got the choice. We’re NHS and I think they like that security blanket, but they know that they can get everything else they want here too.
SE: Have you noticed a difference in patient numbers since winning the award?
LB: Yes. To the point that we had to stop taking on new patients for a while. There’s no doubt that the number of patient enquiries has increased. We’re very fortunate because we get a lot of patients referred to us through word of mouth, but there’s no doubt the number of patients went up after winning the awards.
SE: How do you let your patients know about your awards?
LB: We’re quite heavily involved with social media, leading up to the awards and afterwards as well. Our awards are on display in the practice, which helps because our patients tell their friends and so on. It’s also on our website. We’ve done a lot of charity work recently and so the Evening News, the local newspaper, featured a story about us winning multiple awards.
SE: What inspired you to become a dentist?
LB: I’ve no idea. I just kind of fell into it, which sounds terrible. I loved sciences at school and it was just a natural progression from there. It seemed like a really good career choice and it was, it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing.
SE: Have you any advice you would pass onto aspiring dentists?
LB: Learn to walk before you can run. At the moment it’s very easy to get caught up with all the exciting treatments that are about. They’re fantastic to aim for, but it’s really important to get the basics down before you move on. You can get really caught up with it and spend a lot of money on courses when you first graduate, when actually you should give yourself a couple of years to really hone your skills.
SE: Will you be entering the awards again next year?
LB: Probably. We are doing an awful lot in the practice this year again so it would make sense. We’ve got a bit of time to decide what categories to enter before the deadline.
Leanne Branton graduated from Glasgow in 2003 and went on to gain experience in both NHS and cosmetic dentistry. In 2008 she opened a squat NHS practice called Southside Dental Care in Edinburgh. This busy practice has now developed to provide a wide range of treatments including implants, short-term orthodontics and facial aesthetics. This is provided by a highly skilled team of five dentists and visiting clinicians. Leanne herself has developed special interests in implants and dental sedation. She has also been involved, along with one of her associates, in vocational training for a number of years and loves encouraging the development of new graduate dentists.