Many times I’m asked how and why MHM clients achieve their practice aims with apparently so little effort. How do they take the island?
MHM does not allow its clients to define their private work as a practice: it is a BUSINESS.
Private consultants refer to it as a practice; I call it a business. What seems like a mere play on words, is anything but. The whole of the business is geared towards making a sufficient financial return for the effort that is required. Whilst this is absolutely NOT at the expense of providing 1st class 100% professional medical care for the patients, it does mean that patients aside, everything else is geared towards obtaining a financial return.
If the business does not generate a financial return, what is the point?
That’s why MHM negotiated a fee increase for two separate clients in respect of surgical episodes (both were increased by 40%) last week. The consultants concerned did extra work and were therefore entitled to charge more. It is, after all, a business.
The question then arises of how they achieve their business aims with “so little effort”. This may be summed up very simply: it’s NOT true. But let’s be clear. I’m not talking about the consultant’s professional skills and abilities. I’m talking about the divorce between their professional skills and the amount of effort put in to run the business as a business. All MHM clients are smart enough to outsource the management of their business; they themselves rarely get involved for they realise they are in a different world than they are used to. Let me illustrate this by comparison with an NHS patient and a private patient.
All MHM clients have NHS commitments. They see numerous patients all the time. But these patients are delivered without much effort on the part of the consultant. That is absolutely not the case with a private patient. The consultant must go out and advertise himself by whatsoever means to attract patients to him. Then he must make sure, unlike his NHS patient in respect of which he’ll be paid his NHS salary regardless, that the private patient or insurance company pay for the consultation, etc.
So what does “burn the boats” mean?
Burn the boats means that everything the private consultant does to support his business MUST be 100% organised and efficient. A private medical practice – a BUSINESS – cannot be run in a half-hearted manner. It takes – like any other business – considerable time and effort to get it right. Burn the boats means there is no way off the island. Of course, a private consultant can choose to close his private practice/business and leave the island but the mindset when you start private work is that it has got to succeed for the boats have been burned.