At a conference recently a friend of mine was discussing the future of the private practice industry and what lay ahead.
My colleague shared the view that the “younger” newly appointed consultant is more adaptable to the direction of change in the private practice.
Thus they were a major driver in how the industry moves forward.
I say they are entrepreneurs.
Let me explain why.
Certainly newly appointed consultants cannot look forward to a hefty NHS pension at the end of their career.
The younger consultants are also facing a squeeze in fees from private medical insurance companies. Not to mention they journeyed through a number of years to reach the position they are in now.
Yet they find themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
The market is more competitive than those who came before them. The younger consultants are, so the evidence suggests, much more open to a business orientated approach than before. They have to.
In other words, the newly qualified consultant still has a mortgage to pay, mouths to feed, etc so is much more receptive to being an entrepreneur.
Say what you may but the fact remains the private medical healthcare environment is changing. Just as the NHS healthcare environment is changing.
At the forefront of such changes will be the newly qualified consultant surgeon. To adapt or take advantage of such opportunities as may arise, the new qualified are using technology as never before. For example, they are much more amenable to the use of internet-based technology for marketing and PR. They have to be entrepreneurial.
To prosper, let alone survive, they must invest in technology. What is interesting is that they are more willing to do so than ever before.
To succeed with a private practice requires a significant amount of seriously hard work. This is not to suggest the application of medical skills is not important. It is.
But what is equally important are entrepreneurial skills. Marketing, financial expertise, and business managerial skills for example. These should not be assumed to be easy. They now have to be acquired.
Consider that a consultant – newly qualified or otherwise – works within the NHS.
The NHS provides a support infrastructure including premises, secretarial support and, crucially, a constant supply of new patients.
In the private sector, none of these items will be supplied. The consultant has to go out and actively find them for himself.
And that is why the consultant surgeon should be viewed as an entrepreneur.
Does anyone have a different view? I’d be delighted to hear from you.