Expanding Scottish Dental Care Group adds 20,000 patients with lockdown takeovers

A Scottish dental group is to swallow two practices as it continues on the acquisition trail despite coronavirus disruption.

Directors and brothers Christopher Friel and Philip Friel.
Directors and brothers Christopher Friel and Philip Friel.

Scottish Dental Care Group has acquired a new practice in the Central Belt during lockdown, with a further one said to be in the final stages of completion. Its practices are currently located across Glasgow, Dumfries, Oban, Inverness, Bishopton and Cardonald.

The business sought support from Bank of Scotland to fund the new acquisitions as part of its wider growth plans to purchase a new practice each quarter throughout 2020 and 2021.

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The group, which has secured a £1.75 million funding package from the bank, also has existing funding in place should further changes be needed to ensure the practices comply with future government guidance in relation to Covid-19.

Philip Friel, clinical director, said: “We’ve been very specific in terms of our group structure and ambitions for growth. While no one foresaw the current global pandemic, that same robust structure and management regime stands us in good stead to progress with our growth plans across the country.

Fellow director and brother Christopher Friel added: “Last year we focused on consolidating our existing practices and processes, as well as refinancing the group with Bank of Scotland which meant that when Covid-19 hit, we were in a strong position. We use a single supplier for all of the practices, from using the same electricity provider to the same manufacturer of clinical materials, meaning that once we’ve acquired a new site, the logistics of bringing that practice into the group are very straightforward.”

The new NHS and private practices will add around 20,000 patients to the group.

Mark Sim, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Parts of the healthcare sector, particularly pharmacies, have been extremely busy throughout the pandemic. However, it has been more damaging for dental practices that have been forced to close their doors to weather this challenging time. SDC Group is a great example of a business that already had strong foundations in place and now, with our support, is ready to continue normal operations quickly as soon as it is permitted.”

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