Mostafa Hassaan recently opened the Eiryls Dental Practice in Dolgellau, North Wales. He tells us about his day….
My alarm goes off…
At 6:45am, precisely one hour after I wake up - I'll have a triple espresso play some guitar and do some stretches (to get a few more years out of my neck before it turns to stone).
My motivation usually wakes up at this point and runs down the stairs in the form of my two little boys.
We have a chat about life, and why they can't have sweets for breakfast, we feed the dog, set up for school with the help of mum (my life companion and our practice co-ordinator), and the tone is set for an upbeat new day.
I take a few deep breaths, contemplate things over the spectacular view of the bay and I'm ready to go.
A few minutes later and I am smiling peacefully as my business partner and I navigate the hills and valleys of one of the world's most beautiful landscapes - Snowdonia national park.
Watching the sun rise over the lakes and the mist covering the vast tree tops, we know we've made the right decision to move here.
Beats M25 traffic that's for sure!
My typical day
As we park in Dolgellau, the fresh air and the thrill of a new day at work kicks in.
An upbeat "good morning" resonates through the practice and echoes in the high chambers of what was once the county hall and court house, bringing 200 hundred years of heritage back to life.
The building we have converted is a majestic Grade II listed piece of history, where King George V was proclaimed.
The court room remains untouched and is where I tend to get a few minutes of quiet to refocus when the day gets too far ahead of me.
It makes for great conversation when patients say, "This isn't the first time I've been in this building you know; do they still have the cells at the back?", or "…the last time I was here they took my license away..."!
What are you responsible for?
I check in with the most dedicated team I could have wished for, and we briefly go over any issues we may have had the day before.
I take a wander around the practice complete some checklists, set my music and the day is good to go.
As the practice doors open my second bout of motivation kicks in, I realise that we are doing something truly worthwhile here, the sense of gratitude is overwhelming.
I'm ready to do what I do best.
I got the job
"Only corporates win tenders"; "Why leave a good thing when you're a clinical director earning a decent living?"; "Don't you know the hassle involved with NHS work?"; "Watch out for NHSBSA, they just want to scare you into clawing money back"; "Stick to private practices, the NHS is struggling"; "Wales! The weather is terrible, and there's nothing to do there" - these are all things I heard that did make me doubt I was making the right choice.
But I believed in making it work.
I came across many frustrations on the way to practice ownership, hyper-valued dental practices were definitely one of them.
I tried my best to keep a positive attitude, shrug it off and tell myself "Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles" and then immediately I look for a solution.
My biggest achievement to date
Converting the county hall was a big deal, but the real achievement was bringing together a fantastic team who are really giving it all they've got.
My team are totally invested in what they're doing because they believe in it, and that is something money cannot buy.
Changing patient's perceptions are our biggest triumphs. When patients leaves the practice with kind words, you know you have done a great day's work.
The worst part of my job…
It often feels there just isn't enough time in the day to chat to my patients as much as I’d like.
Thankfully I have a team that really pulls together. I get an amazing sense of satisfaction that we've done the best job we can.
The best part of my job...
Many of our patients haven't seen a dentists for over two years, as the last practice in Dolgellau shut down in 2017, and the next closest NHS practices in Porthmadog and Aberystwyth were full.
Some also have to travel up to 50 miles to see us.
But the feedback from our patients has been amazing, and the support we are getting from them, and our local health board has been terrific.
We take great pride in our work, and we want every patient to leave feeling like we've met their needs.
I am tremendously lucky to have found a job I love doing.
My family is my centre.
A walk on the beach, a horse ride in a remote trekking site in Snowdonia, a little climbing on the weekends, and some serious clowning around.
We are always up for a new adventure, and in North wales we are perfectly set up for it too. Yes, the weather can be terrible, but there is always something interesting to do!
But I do like the sunshine, and we enjoy travelling - and I and am never happier than when diving in the Red Sea.
When the day is done I'll wind down with my mahogany guitars, Martin and Gibson and let the music flow.
My Plan B
In my dreams, I'd love to be a travelling journalist/ fundraiser/ musician…!
But helping others is what really gives value and meaning to life, and I'm lucky I get to do that in my job every day.
Mostafa Hassaan, Practice Owner
Eirlys Dental Practice
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