The Hakim Group chief executive, Imran Hakim, was as surprised as anyone about the results of the EU referendum last month.
“There was certainly a sense of shock. Practice owners were very downbeat,” he told OT.
But the owner of the joint venture company is now looking to the UK’s departure from the EU with a sense of optimism – and is encouraging practice owners to do the same.
“The UK has a strong history of economic resilience over the long term,” he emphasised.
With the announcement of the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her cabinet this week, the profession now, at least, knows who will lead the way, Mr Hakim said.
“There’s invariably going to be an amount of short-term pain … [but] the single most important thing is to ensure you [as a practice owner] maintain positivity and confidence amongst your team,” he advised.
Mr Hakim hoped that Brexit would not cause a loss of consumer confidence like that seen after the 2008–09 credit crunch.
“Looking at industry trends over the last 10 years, the independent sector has really receded. All the indications from [market research company] Mintel indicate that this will continue to be the case. I hope uncertainty in our country’s economy doesn’t accelerate that,” he said.
“The thing is for practice owners to have a plan … If you wander aimlessly, you’re going to get lost,” Mr Hakim added.
Specsavers joint managing director, John Perkins, said that the multiple would look to its strengths in the wake of the 51.9% Leave vote.
“That has been our focus for the last 30 years and it will continue to be so moving forward … It’s still very much business as usual for Specsavers,” Mr Perkins emphasised.
While some big names in the British science community have warned about the dangers to UK-based science and research after an EU departure, others are not so sure.
Consultant ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, David Spalton, told Healio: “The effect on British research and development is completely inestimable, but if there is a longer-term reduction in the value of the pound, it could, in fact, make it more beneficial for companies to move more research and development to the UK.”
Image credit: MPD01605