After many years in the village Peter Maund retired from dentistry at the end of October. Many of his patients have been with him for decades and so they are particularly pleased that his practice is going to be taken on by another local dentist.
We caught up with the new owner of the practice, Peter Saner, while the refurbishment of the practice was going on to find out about him and his plans for the practice.
Peter, tell us something about yourself and how you have come to be working here.
Well, I’m married to Kath and we have four children, the eldest now at university and the youngest just started at secondary school. We’ve been living here in Ferring since we moved from Edinburgh in 1999. Since then I’ve been working at Central Clinic in Worthing providing NHS dentistry within the salaried service mainly for people who have difficulty getting treatment from a general dental practice.
Tell us more about that. Why did you do that sort of dentistry, rather than a normal dental practice?
I’ve always wanted to do the best possible dentistry for my patients, to give them the time they need and to treat them as an individual. Many people have had a bad experience at the dentist at some time and often the system doesn’t help to prevent that. I wanted to treat anyone, whether they have difficulty getting into the dental chair because they have MS, for instance, or struggle with learning disabilities and so find it hard to accept any treatment at all or people who have become very scared of the dentist. These years in Worthing have given me the chance to care for a real cross section of the community and it has been a real privilege.
Why have you decided to move to Ferring Dental Practice?
For some time I had been feeling that it was time to see whether I could develop a practice team with care of the individual patient at the core of the practice. Dentistry is becoming very corporate and has always had a risk of being very money driven. I wanted to see if I could give honest, high quality care where people could invest properly in their mouths and know that we would be around for the long term. The salaried service, and the NHS as a whole, tends to think short term but I wanted to invest in the same way as I expect my patients to and commit myself to them.
So will you still be offering NHS dentistry at the practice?
Yes, we will continue to provide NHS dentistry for those that want it. Anitha Diwakar has been delivering excellent care within that framework from the practice and will continue to do so. However, I want people to think about how much they value their mouths and to think about the limitations they are setting on the care they receive by limiting themselves to NHS dentistry. We can find ourselves in life spending a lot of money on things that last a relatively short time, whereas we want our teeth to last for life. For those that need it, NHS dental care will continue, but I would encourage people to think about what they want from their teeth and make it an investment.
You spoke about a new team, is there anyone else?
I’ve been lucky enough to persuade Andrew Walker to come and join us for two days a week. Andy worked with me in the Community Service based at Flansham Health Centre after many years owning and working in practice in Shirley Drive, Worthing. He has a great reputation as an all round caring dentist. As we are both left-handed it means that the new surgery we are installing will work for both of us! I will be working Monday to Wednesday and he will work Thursday and Friday.
Any other changes?
Well I mentioned the new surgery but we’re working to bring the whole practice up to the highest standard we can in infection control with a decontamination room, and we are introducing a computer system to help with clinical governance and to allow us to use digital imaging.
Just a minute, what is clinical governance and digital imaging?
At its best, clinical governance is making sure you are giving the best possible care to the patients you see so you can give the best care to the next one who comes through the door. Much of that involves systems of work and checking that we do what we think we do and for that computers help. The digital imaging means that you don’t have to wait for ages for the x-ray film to be produced and it can be included in the computer notes so it’s always part of your record.
So is it just dentistry or do you have a life?
Family is really important to me, which is one reason for bringing Andy on board as I also work on staff with a local church, Jubilee Community Church , which is an independent church in Worthing bringing together all sorts of people from all sorts of different cultures and backgrounds to discover Jesus together, trying not to let religion get in the way.
I went into community dentistry when I left Newcastle University and found it was an excellent place to care for all sorts of people, whether it was a child on a large housing estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, drug abusers caught up in the early phase of the AIDS epidemic or an elderly person stuck in their house needing new dentures when the hospital had lost their old set. I’m now really looking forward to serving people in this village and beyond for many years to come.