Expansion heralds move to a four-day week

18 August, 2023 / professional-focus
 Stewart McRobert  

There are radical developments underway at Vermilion – The Smile Experts in Edinburgh where a new £800,000 extension is inspiring a move to a four-day week.

As Dr David Offord, Vermilion Practice Principal explained, the second-floor expansion reflects increasing demand for the company’s services.

“The number of referrals is growing all the time, particularly in relation to implants, endodontics and periodontics.

“Simply put, we needed more capacity. We’ve also been very keen to have everyone back under one roof, and when the space above us at 24 St John’s Road finally became available, we entered an agreement with the landlord to take it over.

“Subsequently, our satellite clinic at 50 St John’s Road that we opened five years ago to accommodate our administrative team and dental hygienists will close.”

As well as increasing the capacity in terms of clinical output – five chairs will become 10 – the opening of the second-floor clinic in September will coincide with a move to a four-day week.

“We’ll be open Monday through Thursday at our sites in Edinburgh and Kelso,” said David.

As he made clear, this significant change is partly a response to the circumstances created by COVID-19 which put great strain on healthcare workers, and a reluctance to return to the situation that existed before March 2020.

“Lately, we’ve found ourselves back on the hamster wheel working as hard as ever,” he said. “We want to have a team that is proud to work in a beautiful environment and has a notable work-life balance with a three-day weekend.”

It’s a move that has been welcomed by the Vermilion team and David believes it will prove an asset when it comes to recruitment and retention.

“Many dentists and doctors are looking to quit because of burnout and fatigue, which is such a loss to the profession and their patients,” he noted.

“It is particularly important to look after clinicians in their 50s because they have so much to offer. But they’ve got to enjoy the work, and having recently crossed that age threshold myself, it has focused my mind.”

Positive feedback

A campaign to inform patients and referring dental practitioners about the switch to a four-day week has been underway for some time.

Similarly, the team has worked hard to move Friday patients to other days of the week, reassuring them that there will be no impact on the level of treatment and service they receive.

David added: “We’ve been open and upfront, asking patients for their views on the proposed change. All of the feedback has been positive.”

The £800,000 second-floor expansion provides an additional 350 square metres and will be dedicated to endodontics, periodontics/dental hygiene and orthodontics. The existing first-floor clinic will be dedicated to dental implantology and oral surgery.

In addition, the expansion will provide enhanced CPD capacity.

“Delivering CPD has always been a central focus throughout our 12-year existence. Every year we run a varied programme of CPD courses for our referring dental colleagues,” said David.

“Notably, the space will have the possibility of live video links to surgeries with delegates able to observe live endodontics, live implant surgery etc. Hopefully, we can offer inspiration.

“Younger dentists must keep the faith: they have picked a good degree and they can have a great career! At Vermilion, we see it as our role to offer inspiration and encouragement, especially to younger colleagues.”

“In mixed dental practices, the emphasis must be on up-skilling. Again, that’s where we have a strong track record of providing help.

“For example, last August we held a free symposium dedicated to composite restorations where Dr Jason Smithson, a renowned authority in the field, addressed approximately 80 referring dentists. It’s about raising the standard across the board.”

Ahead of schedule

For Vermilion that ambition to move ahead currently means completing the extension. Fortunately, construction has gone smoothly.

David commented: “Recruiting a builder can be difficult. Our contractors, George M Bolton Ltd, are based on this side of the city and were recommended to us. They have done a great job and are ahead of schedule. 

“It’s also a delight to work again with Farahbod Nakhaei and Malcolm Cullen from architects NVDC. Farahbod did a sterling job designing our original clinic 12 years ago and I had no hesitation in appointing him for this project. Ian Wilson and Bruce Deane from IWT are also superb – they are fitting out the five new surgeries and the LDU.”

The progress that has been made means work will be completed by the end of August and the first patients will be treated in the new space on 4 September.

David concluded: “The expansion is giving us a lot of joy. It’s going to be a great place to work. I will get such a buzz from walking from the first floor to the second floor, seeing our people enjoying their work, whether they’re a dentist, an administrator, a receptionist, or a nurse.

“It will be beautiful, bright and airy. I’m sure people will recognise the investment that’s been made. Ultimately, our business depends on referrals from dental practitioners.

“Hopefully they will recognise our commitment to looking after their patients through offering exceptional service and the best treatment in a stunning environment.”

The Clinical Team at Vermilion – The Smile Experts

Periodontics / Dental Hygiene

  • Dr Louise O’Dowd
  • Dr Jackie Davidson
  • Ms Michaela Zilinska
  • Mrs Debbie McKenzie
  • Ms Jen White


  • Dr David Treagus
  • Dr Steve Bonsor


  • Dr Laura Hernandez Horton


  • Dr Steve Siovas
  • Dr Photini Papacharalambous

Implant Dentistry

  • Dr Martin Morley
  • Dr Charlie Evans

Oral Surgery

  • Dr David Offord
  • Dr Mairi Jamieson
  • Dr Fiona Wright


  • Dr Ross Paterson
  • Dr Anthony Bateman
  • Dr Chris Richard

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