Money Matters

Private practice: beating professional sabotage

I had an interesting conversation yesterday.

A new consultant was telling me how his trust was trying to encourage consultants to bring their private patients to the private patients unit that was part of that NHS hospital.

Good idea. Convenient. Lots of people around in case of problems. Could work well for everybody.

Yet private patients were being cancelled for all the same reasons that NHS ones so frequently are – no beds, not enough nursing staff, the usual crap.

Not so good.

And there was even skulduggery afoot. Yes, genuine sabotage I’m afraid.

For example, this particular consultant had a private patient scheduled to go on to the end of an NHS list that his ‘colleague’ was using.

His ‘colleague’ only had a short list so shouldn’t have been a problem.

But no. His cases inexplicably overran, got delayed, were slow and oh dear! What a shame! Sorry old boy! There was no time for the private case at the end of the list after all, so it was cancelled at the last minute.

Sabotaged by his colleague. Despite the fact the person I was talking to was a newbie, a consultant of only nine months standing who had only ever had four private patients. He had made a mess of his coding so was undercharging. He hadn’t even secured admitting rights down the road. Hardly a threat to anyone, surely?

Yet this other more senior guy STILL felt the need to shaft him good and proper.

It’s not often I’m speechless, but I was when I heard that little tale.

The private patient pie is big, and getting bigger. There’s plenty out there, if you know how to find it (or better yet if you happen to know how to have IT find YOU). Yet the private patient pie is finite. And when it comes to private practice success, as in all other endeavours, there are going to be winners and losers.

Those who know how to market themselves, who are willing to invest in themselves and their future, they will grab a big chunk of the pie. Do well. Get a good reputation. Have a busy practice. And earn a lot of money, of course.

So let those other scumbags (like the doc above) grub around in their jealous, mean-spirited fashion. Because you, with good marketing in place, won’t need to worry about the odd cancellation or delayed case.

And you can then give your ‘colleague’ something to really be jealous about.

Dev Lall (FRCS) runs Private Practice Expert. Visit for free daily tips on how to grow your private practice.

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