What keeps practice owners up at night

2 minute read

GP practice owners are business people as well as clinicians – this budget week, we hear about some of the issues that concern them most.

GP practice owners are a bit like ducks, says Dr Jared Dart, a director of the Australian General Practice Alliance (AGPA), a GP practice owner and the co-founder of Welio, a telehealth platform designed to enhance practice viability. 

“They look like they’re floating, but under the surface they’re paddling fiercely,” he says in this week’s episode of The Tea Room. “And the biggest problem is practice principals have nowhere to go. A GP can retrain or go on sick leave, but principals only have one option: to sell, and unfortunately, many are doing just that.” 

AGPA, formed in 2016, aims to represent the interests of GP practice owners like these. 

This week, Treasurer Jim Chalmers had inflation firmly in his sights when framing the first Labor Budget since 2013. Inflation is now one of the toughest challenges facing owners. 

“Medical inflation over the past two years has been particularly high,” says Dr Dart. “Our costs are at least 10% higher in our practice, and that’s across the board – from electricity, wages and consumables to cleaning and rent. 

“Add into the mix things like payroll tax, which could bankrupt a practice principal, and you can understand why the stress is significant.” 

But it’s not all darkness. Dr Dart firmly believes in the GP-owned business model, which puts purpose before profit, and says he stands on the shoulders of those who owned his practice before him. 

“They delivered the babies, they did the house calls, they took out the appendices, and the goodwill that builds over time is incredible,” he says.  

However, he also believes practice owners don’t have adequate representation on the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, which could compromise the panel’s success

“They are missing out on the opportunity to take the perspective of people who run and implement general practice every day,” he says, “and the challenge I see is that the taskforce may not actually want to hear the truth.” 

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for “The Tea Room Medical Republic” in your favourite podcast player. 

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