Nurturing the Next Generation – Progression to Succession

Ben Wild explains why Riverdale Healthcare builds relationships and guides dentists and professionals through their career.

In any industry the succession cycle is a challenge. But at Riverdale Healthcare we believe we have the foundations to provide stability and security for all our colleagues, safeguarding the future success of our business.

From the point of inception, Riverdale Healthcare commits to providing opportunities for everyone. It’s in our DNA.

The first dental group we acquired, Alpha Vitality, successfully embedded a culture of progression, which we continue to nurture.

Ultimately, we want to provide the highest standards of dental care to all patients – in a friendly and professional environment.

To ensure we deliver on this, we are dedicated to making sure that our teams are the best they can be. Providing opportunities for progression, we believe, is paramount to ensuring our teams are motivated and enjoy their work.

Our head of operations began as a trainee dental nurse. As did many of our regional management team.

For us, this level of experience in key roles means they are best placed to make informed decisions. They can have a greater understanding how changes affect every part of the team. And subsequently, successfully manage implementation of change.

In addition, the experience of acquiring the skills needed to develop and progress within the business means that they are also well placed to identify and nurture the potential in those around them.

We work closely with our teams, supporting them through a broad range of training programmes to meet the developing needs of the business.

As a result, many of our staff members benefit from career progression. Either with additional skills that link to their core roles, or role promotion as they progress the career ladder.

Nurturing foundation dentists

On a clinical level, many groups report a shortage of dentists, which can have a massive impact on the business. We are taking the proactive approach used by many premiership football clubs; we are growing our own.

Partnering with foundation training providers, we are nurturing relationships with foundation dentists to develop the lead clinicians of the future.

Assigning mentors, we guide FDs through 12 months in practice, participating in team events, supported in their academic work and guide them through their clinical role.

Foundation training not only provides a unique and stimulating team environment, it also helps to promote best practice. The foundation dentists and their supervisors embrace the latest clinical protocols to enhance patient care. Whilst also involving the whole team around them.

Many of our current clinical team joined as foundation dentists. The legacy of this experience forged many longstanding and valuable professional and personal relationships between team members.

Beyond foundation training, we facilitate opportunities to further develop skills through our own CPD events.

Collaborations with both leading industry speakers and our own home-grown talent provide enhanced clinical training to widen the services they can offer to our patients.

With the opportunities afforded by hybrid teaching models, we offer a broad range of online teaching seminars. As well as F2F one-day and extended practical training programmes at a range of centres close to our practices.

The value of relationships

We recognise that extended practice families make up our group. Each with their own nuances, but all working together to deliver the highest standards of dental care.

We should never underestimate the value of these relationships. None more so than in the past year.

I, myself, as operations director, have strong and enduring relationships with many of our team members. Whether they are clinical directors, dentists, managers or DCPs.

Through these relationships, I was able to see when one person in particular might need support, whether professional or personal.

To this day that culture lives on in the ethos of the practice teams

And that’s what we do. We keep it personal.

People like us, because we are passionate about what we do and we believe in what we do.

That’s why we have a large number of people who have been with us for far longer than many marriages! Some, for their whole working life.

If you’re looking for the secret. There isn’t one.

Just make sure you stay interested in people. Be kind, be supportive but most of all, listen.

Riverdale is on a mission – what’s yours?

Riverdale Healthcare is growing. If you would like to find out more about Riverdale Healthcare and if we are a good fit for each other, speak to Chris Aylward. You can contact him at


Image and article as featured in Dentistry Magazine