A TRIO of dentists has relocated to the region to invest £500,000 in two specialist surgeries it hopes to become the basis for a chain of practises.
Neo Orthodontics was set up to successfully tender for the Northumberland and Newcastle NHS contract to provide specialist orthodontic services – or braces – and reduce waiting times for the treatment. It will also offer private treatment.
The business was put together by three friends who had trained together – Dr Preet Bhogal, Dr Usman Qureshi and Dr Zia Ud-Din – who moved to the region from Birmingham, London and Manchester respectively.
Dr Bhogal, who already had family living in the North East, said: “In the North East, the primary care trusts in Northumberland and Newcastle identified a lack of orthodontic specialists.
“The new contract went out to tender to cater for this. As we were all relatively recently qualified, we thought this was a fantastic opportunity to work together.
“We are reliant on NHS dentists referring into us. We will also be doing some direct marketing – most referrals will be through their dentists but there will be the opportunity for self-referral.”
Neo has invested £500,000 in its two flagship clinics in Newcastle and Ashington which Dr Bhogal said act as the ‘hub’ of the business. Staff will also travel to Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham to treat patients.
He said: “Our new practices in the North East are fully equipped with the latest in dental technology, have superb facilities for lectures and training sessions and provide a venue for specialist training in the region.
“There are already large numbers of newly qualified dentists graduating from the region’s universities and we aim to help to retain that talent in the North East by providing a place for continuous training in orthodontics – something which can take an additional three years on top of a dental degree.”
Although the “large majority” of Neo’s works will be for the NHS, adults are not eligible for free orthodontic treatment to improve their smile and Dr Bhogal says that many people do not realise that braces work at all ages.
“Most adults are unaware they can have orthodontic treatment. They see make over programmes like 10 Years Younger with quick fixes like veneers,” he said. The group eventually aims to become a multi-specialist practice, offering more that just orthodontic services.
“As we build our team our vision is to recruit specialists in different areas including facial treatments, to come in and do those treatments subject to demand – so people can come in and have the treatments all under one roof,” said Dr Bhogal.