Couple say new deal with Clyde Munro will ensure quality treatment for Orcadians for decades to come
A HUSBAND and wife who transformed dental care in Orkney by launching its only NHS surgery after a gap of almost 15 years have now agreed a partnership with a major dental group.
Islanders could only get NHS dental treatment in hospital until Orkney Dental was launched by Scott and Amy Tulloch. The 30-strong team across three practices now provide dental care to around three quarters of the Orkney population.
The couple, who live in Stromness with their two young sons, say teaming up with Clyde Munro dental group will guarantee excellent dental care in Orkney for decades to come.
Amy, 34, said: “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved. When we arrived home the only NHS Dental Care available in Orkney was through the hospital dental service. The majority of people could not really get anything other than emergency treatment.
“However, we never wanted this to be about us. From the very outset we were clear this would be called Orkney Dental, because we still want it to be here serving the community in 50 or 100 years.
“That is what we want our legacy to be and we are certain that working with Clyde Munro will safeguard dentistry on Orkney for decades to come.”
Jim Hall, the founder of Clyde Munro, which now comprises more than 30 practices with 160 associates and employing over 320 staff and treating over 270,000 patients across Scotland, said: “This is brilliant news all round – for the Tullochs and the team at Orkney Dental, for NHS patients in Orkney and for Clyde Munro.
“Everything we do is about delivering the best possible dental care to patients wherever they are in Scotland, so we are absolutely thrilled that we now have a first foothold in one of the country’s island communities.
“What Scott and Amy have achieved in Orkney is incredible, transforming NHS dental provision beyond recognition. Now we look forward to working with them to further support the NHS strategy for rural locations.”
Stromness-born Scott, 37, met Amy, from Dumfries-shire, while she was working as a locum in Kirkwall. They were determined to live and work in Orkney, which had been blighted by a lack of any general dental practices offering NHS treatments.
They conducted extensive research on how to make a success of a business in a remote or rural location and Scott added: “We looked at the models which had worked elsewhere and how we could apply them here. The main rules for success are finding people who are from rural places or want to live in them, engaging with those people early in their careers, then give them a career pathway and progression.
“If you can get all of those things right, then it tends to work well. ”
When the Tulloch’s launched Orkney Dental in 2014, islanders were finally able to enjoy easy access to high-quality NHS dental treatment for the first time in almost 15 years.
However, Amy admitted: “I don’t think we realised the enormity of what we were taking on. The logistical challenges are huge. Getting dental chairs and other equipment here was a major challenge and we had to train up the majority of our nurses and all of our other staff from scratch.
“What we wanted – our mission statement I suppose you could call it – was for patients in Orkney to have access to the same type and level of services that you might expect in Edinburgh or Glasgow. We wanted parity and we believe that is what we have achieved.”
As well as general dentistry, the two NHS practices in Kirkwall and Stromness are supported by a third referral practice which offers orthodontics, complex root canal work, implants and other complex or cosmetic treatments.
Scott said the acquisition by Clyde Munro will help the practices in terms of manpower, administration, logistics, training and supply chain.
The Tullochs will remain a vital part of Orkney Dental with more time to focus on developing services and mentoring young professionals. They will also be able to spend more time with sons William, three and one-year-old Max and pursuing their interests outside of work.
Clyde Munro is an entirely Scottish-based and Scottish-focused dental group. Since being founded by Jim Hall in 2015 it has enjoyed rapid growth.
Its ambition is to become Scotland’s “local dentist”, operating an expanding network of family dentists across Scotland, with each devoted to providing the best dental care, while reflecting the needs and character of its community.