Operating a private general practice can be rewarding. You’re free of many NHS regulations, which allows you to spend more time with patients. You’ll also have more control over how you treat them. This often results in better patient care and higher job satisfaction for the doctor. However, there are several things you need to know before you try to open your practice. Read on to find out more.
The Pros and Cons of Different Business Models
There are several potential business models for a general practitioner. A single-handed GP is a doctor practicing medicine without any other partners. They’re often called sole traders. This approach gives you complete autonomy. You have more flexibility over when you work, but you’re doing all the work yourself.
Another option would be to form a limited liability partnership with several other physicians. A partnership means that there are other people to manage cases and treat patients. The downside is that you don’t have as much autonomy as a sole trader. You have to compromise with others, and this can include when you go on vacation and how the medical practice’s profits are split.
If you want to work in private practice without having to take on the burden of owning and managing it, working as a salaried GP could be a good compromise. This gives you a steady income and you’ll often get benefits. On the other hand, you’re an employee of the practice and you may not have any say in how it is run. You probably won’t get a share of the profits, either.
The Business Side of Medicine
A private general practice should be treated as a business, because it is. Do a market analysis before you open your practice and understand the needs of your prospective customers. You also have to find ways to limit costs, especially with things like medical supplies and equipment.
This would be a great time to get acquainted with resources like medical-supermarket.com that will allow you to buy your supplies at wholesale cost. You may also have to decide whether you’re going to buy or lease equipment.
Leasing is often a better option because it allows you to always have the latest equipment without the cashflow hit. This will then allow you to do more work in less time, and take in more patients.
The Legal Side of Private Medicine
Any doctor registered with the General Medical Council is allowed to set up a private medical practice. If you have provisional or limited registration, you cannot practice without supervision, and you’ll have to be appraised and revalidated in your role.
Also, any new medical practice will have to be registered with the Care Quality Commission. Note that new applications can take several months to be approved. Once registered, they’ll inspect the premises periodically and you’ll be required to abide by the same health, safety, and infection controls as any other practice. You’ll also have to meet the same training requirements, and this can be expensive.
Doctors who want to set up a private medical practice enjoy more flexibility and may earn more money for their effort. However, they need to be ready for the challenges they’ll face so that they can see these benefits.