A consultant surgeon came up to me after a recent presentation asking for my opinion on a situation he’d found himself in.
Having successfully operated within the NHS for some time he decided to open a private practice. Before he jumped in the water, he never considered such questions as “how deep the water was?”! Therefore he’d contracted to pay room rental. He had employed a medical secretary. His website was built. He may well need all of these at some point.
He had not, however, stepped back and researched, for example, how many colleagues already had a private practice in the same specialism as he did. If he had, he would have discovered there were 8 of them. Great. There is obviously demand for that specialism BUT the flip side is that the demand is already being satisfied.
He had however asked a well-established colleague how many patients the colleague saw and how much he charged. About 12 a week with a £200 initial consultation fee and a £150 follow up fee i.e. average of £175 per patient, came the response. Circa £2,000 a week worth.
So the consultant surgeon was concerned as to why he was only seeing 2 or 3 patients a week and his consultation fees had been set at £125 initial and £100 follow up – an average of £112.50 per consultation. How come? Well, his colleague had been recognised by the private insurance companies as far back as 2012 and his private practice had built up over the years.
So there are various points he failed to consider before opening his private practice. None of which absolutely mean don’t open the practice but they do mean seriously think about issues before deciding to open such a private practice.
Or in other words, make sure you know how deep the water is before you jump in.
How many of you have found yourself in a similar situation?