A PAIR of Scottish dentists are planning investment in the group of practices they have recently bought and expect to add two further staff in the coming months.

Colin Hunter and Greig Stevenson have been long-time friends, having met while studying at Dundee University in 1997.

The duo had later gone to work at private practices in Coatbridge and Edinburgh, respectively, but have now launched a new venture in Ayrshire by acquiring four dental practices in the Garnock Valley.

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Having looked around the central belt for the right development, the opportunity arose to take on a handful of already-established surgeries in North Ayrshire.

With the help of funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland, they acquired Dalry Dental Practice, Beith Dental Centre, Beith Dental Care and Kilbirnie Dental Care. The Hunter & Stevenson brand will also embark on a major modernisation project throughout their practices.

Mr Stevenson said: "Myself and Colin had been working away for a number of years and had been considering entering into a start-up project together three years ago.

"For one reason or another, that deal fell through but we were later contacted by the bank when the owner of the four dental practices in the Garnock Area [made them] available.

"We thought it was something we wanted to do.

"In the long-term, we certainly wouldn't say no to expanding our portfolio but for the next 18 to 24 months we'll be looking to consolidate and safeguard the jobs of those working here."

The deal sustained the jobs of 16 workers across the four sites, while Mr Stevenson says they will look to take on another two dentists within six months.

In time, those staff members will be able to take part in a policy of ongoing staff development.

While the four surgeries are open for specialist private care, they remain NHS committed practices.

"We just want to offer patients the best possible care we can," Mr Stevenson said.

"NHS patients will be able to access care here, where we will be able to offer them the choice of additional specialist options."

He added: "The first thing we are aiming to do is to modernise all the equipment and facilities to offer the most up-to-date range of care we can.

"In time we hope to bring on a few more dentists and we'll then commit to long-term staff development. The previous owner, Mark Sorrentino, is going to come back in with us to deal with dental implants.

"Specialism is something we are keen to pursue and will be looking to bring in orthodontics as well as sedation services for nervous patients."

Charlie Serafini, from RBS, said: "Colin and Greig are both very enthusiastic and committed to offering the highest service possible. It's been a pleasure to work with them as they take the leap and invest in their own business."