For this latest edition (and first of 2022), we hear from Dr Asha Parmar from Kingston Dental Clinic where she tells us all about how they got started, how they dealt with the pandemic and multiple lockdowns as well as how the Kingston business community rallied together in a time of need.
Kingston Dental Clinic would like to welcome you as your independent, husband and wife run, local practice in the heart of Kingston. Let us tell you a little bit about us and share our story full of twists and turns! My name is Asha, my husband Dipil and I took over this existing practice mid February 2020, and what a rollercoaster of a ride it ended up being. Some of you may already know the clinic, which had been here for a number of years, primarily as a facial aesthetics and teaching centre.
Having spent a total of around 18 years in dental education between us (yes nerdy); it was time for us to make roots of our own. We were overjoyed to be able to start, and the first 2 weeks were filled with enthusiasm; a quiet diary in the early days gave us plenty of time to soak in the buzzing town centre, enjoying lunch time visits to Bentalls, trying out the stalls in the market place, introducing ourselves to the neighbours. This was until March hit. Dental practices were ordered to close along with the rest of the country entering lockdown. The panic set in, what would be our fate?
The next few months were some of the most uncertain we have had to face: we had put our savings into this venture, left our jobs and were not affiliated with NHS dentistry, where at least some government help was granted. We were totally alone and in the unknown world of owning our own business. The doubt and fear was kicking in.
Dental school did not prepare us for managing a business. Sure we can make your smiles pretty and can tell you the scientific evidence behind treatments, but managing staff and balancing material costs, all whilst maintaining the high level of standards as a healthcare industry were a challenge. The overheads had to be paid, the bills kept on coming yet no income and no access to our newly opened business.
All we could do was continue to answer patient phone calls, racing for the phones as they came in. We, and our colleagues throughout the country tried to help as best we could, but I am sure you have all read the horrifying stories of desperate people resorting to pulling out their own teeth!
Tuning in to every news report daily, it was alarming to hear of the PPE shortages, and not being NHS, we were told to self-fund. With the help of our European colleagues and friends, we were able to source PPE early to allow us to start seeing patients as soon as we had the green light from the Dental Officer in June 2020. It was so nice to put faces to the voices we had been speaking to and supporting over the phone for the past few months.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our amazing community in Kingston. Fife Road and Castle Street had welcomed us beyond our imagination. A heartfelt thanks to Corleone Cafe, Cafe Mimosa, Ranya, Coin De Paris and Kami barber to name a few, recommending us and passing on our philosophy to their customers.
Things are now looking much brighter with our highly diverse enthusiastic team supporting us. Through word of mouth we are growing our patient list and we have since opened an additional treatment room. We are providing specialties that did not exist in Kingston Dental Clinic before, and we are enjoying the ride!
Dr Asha Parmar, Kingston Dental Clinic
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