GLASGOW-based Clyde Munro dental group has bought a pioneering practice on Orkney under the drive it launched to consolidate the market in Scotland with backing from London investors.

Clyde Munro has acquired the Orkney Dental practice that Scott and Amy Tulloch established after identifying the need for increased NHS provision on the islands.

The practice became the first to offer NHS treatment on the islands for almost 15 years when it was launched in 2014.

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Clyde Munro reckons Orkney Dental now provides care to around three quarters of the islands’ population.

“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved. When we arrived home the only NHS Dental Care available in Orkney was through the hospital Dental service,” said Ms Tulloch.

Clyde Munro founder Jim Hall said the business was absolutely thrilled to acquire a first foothold in one of Scotland’s island communities as result of the deal.

“What Scott and Amy have achieved in Orkney is incredible, transforming NHS dental provision beyond recognition. Now we look forward to working with them to further support the NHS strategy for rural locations,” he said.

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The deal allows Clyde Munro to maintain the rapid growth it has achieved after winning backing from the Synova Capital private equity business in 2015.

On its website London-based Synova describes Clyde Munro as “Scotland’s leading dental practice consolidation platform”.

It says Synova and the Clyde Munro management team identified the Scottish dental sector as an attractive investment prospect in the belief larger corporates had lacked a dedicated focus on the particular dynamics of the market.

Synova says joining Clyde Munro can allow practices to hand over the dual burdens of practice and regulatory management, freeing up dentist’s time to treat patients, whilst retaining the community identity of the practice.

A spokesman for Clyde Munro said the company acquired Orkney Dental under a plan to establish a presence across Scotland, including in rural areas.

The group secured £10.5 million funding from Investec bank in August last year to support growth moves, including acquisitions. It has no plans to expand outside Scotland.

Clyde Munro now has more than 30 practices, which provide treatment for around 270,000 patients in total.

In July Mr Hall said the group was on track to grow practice numbers in Scotland to more than 50 in the current year. It was in talks with more than 20 practices at the time.

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Financiers have supported moves by other firms to consolidate healthcare markets that have historically been served by independent local players.

The VetPartners business backed by BC Partners operates more than 130 veterinary practices in the UK. The group expanded in Scotland in May through the acquisition of Clyde Veterinary Group.

Aberdeen-based Duncan & Todd has bought a range of opticians in Scotland since Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm, LDC, acquired a majority stake in the business last year.

Reflecting on the process of growing a business on his native Orkney, Mr Tulloch said: “The main rules for success are finding people who are from rural places or want to live in them, engaging with those people early in their careers, then give them a career pathway and progression.”

Ms Tulloch, who comes from Dumfries-shire admitted: “I don’t think we realised the enormity of what we were taking on. The logistical challenges are huge. Getting dental chairs and other equipment here was a major challenge and we had to train up the majority of our nurses and all of our other staff from scratch.”

The Tullochs will remain with Orkney Dental, which has 30 employees working across three practices.

Synova Capital’s portfolio also includes Oakland Care, which it says is a platform for the development of premium private pay residential care in the South East of England.