Leaving Chislehurst Podiatry, why now?
At the end of April 2022 the day came I finally closed the door on my Chislehurst clinic for the last time after 16years.
Joining as a new graduate temporary cover, I fell in love with the clinic and the ethos, impressing the senior partners, who kept me on permanently. My goal at the stage became to own that clinic and run it myself. I had ideas how I would like to run it and expand it even at that early stage. After some years, both partners retired within 18months of each other, I had my chance to take over the clinic. During this period the business was in serious trouble however, with the second partner having terribly mismanaged the finances during the last year of his tenure.
Managing to stabilise the finances, paying staff wages with my own money at times, I began the rebuild. Piece by piece, and with incredible support from some of my staff, patients, and a lot of hard work, I turned the tide. During this turbulent period, I had deal with staff who were once friends and colleagues adjusting, or not, to the change in dynamic as their boss. One whom I found out later had been stealing cash from the clinic for quite some time. Hard lessons to be learned.
Building the business up, so we were busy and profitable, we could invest in some of the latest equipment Podiatry could offer, including the swift microwave unit for verruca’s, Doppler ultrasound for circulation checks, laser fungal treatments to name a few. One GP who visited at that early time commented that our clinic was the best equipped Podiatry clinic he had ever heard of.
It was around this time I decided, I would go back to university to expand my knowledge and skills and took on two associates to help with the workload. As time went by I completed both a PGc in Podiatric Sports Medicine and a PGdip in Podiatric surgery, from Queen Mary University of London and Queen Margaret University Edenborough respectively and been headhunted to become consultant at Benenden Hospital in Cranbrook, Kent. I promoted Jenny Burns to business partner so she could take over some managerial responsibility. She had always expressed a deep desire to own her own clinic, a desire I had remembered well from my youth.
Over the next three years I would reduce my time in Chislehurst further with subsequent hospitals offering practicing privileges, plus my lecturing commitments and Royal College of Podiatry duties, until it became obvious continuing as I was, was unsustainable. I could split myself and my time only so far. Either I chose to give up a couple of the hospitals I had worked so hard to work in, or I had to hand over the keys to the clinic I had poured my blood, sweat and tears into for 16 years (and once electrocuted myself in, but that is a story for another time!). I decided to pass over all my remaining shares to Jenny free of charge, knowing it the right thing to do, she had been a loyal associate. I Knew Jenny had felt it difficult as partner to feel true ownership of the clinic whilst I had remained, like a new tenant living with the old landlord. Despite her anxiety as sole shareholder now, I hope she enjoys as much success I had, and I know if she works half as hard as I had to, she will exceed that three-fold.
Despite further offers for other clinics, the four hospitals Benenden hospital, KIMS hospital, Lycahealth and Sevenoaks Medical centre, guest lecturing, part time teaching at Queen Mary University of London, vice chair, chair elect duties at the Royal College of Podiatry Podiatric Sports Medicine Special Advisory Group, and writing expert opinion publications for general sale print is more than enough for me to manage at this time. Especially with a young family.
Any patients in the Chislehurst area are more than welcome in clinic, with the most local hospital, Lycahealth in Orpington, less than 10 minutes’ drive from Chislehurst