Practice Owners Masterclass to upgrade GPs’ knowledge

Morgan Liotta

29/03/2022 3:33:08 PM

The RACGP’s upcoming masterclass series will aim to arm practice owners with practical tools to ensure the sustainability of their business.

Middle-aged male GP smiling
Practice ownership can be ‘tough and lonely’, but the college’s series of workshops aim to ensure the rewards are also realised.

Insufficient revenue and funding. Adapting to telehealth and vaccine rollout management. Debates over bulk billing. Workforce shortages. Concerns about long-term sustainability. Stress and burnout. Abuse and threats. Disaster management.
General practices have recently faced – and continue to manage – many challenges, which can be partly contributed to a decline in practice ownership and new GP owners establishing their own practices.
The 2021 General Practice: Health of the Nation report revealed that 50% of current owners are concerned about the long-term viability of their practice, an increase from 37% in 2020. In comparison, the proportion of owners concerned about the short-term viability of their practice is just 4%.
‘Practice ownership can be tough, and it can be lonely,’ GP and practice owner Dr Todd Cameron told newsGP.
However, the rewards of practice ownership are also well recognised, with GP practice owners reporting higher rates of satisfaction with their career in general practice than non-owners. They are also more likely than non-owners (63% versus 57%) to recommend general practice as a career to junior colleagues.
To help showcase the rewards of practice ownership, Dr Cameron is due to present at the RACGP’s Practice Owners Masterclass series, where he will share practical solutions and tools to implement into everyday practice.
He says participants can expect to come away from the workshops with better knowledge of business sustainability and a greater connection with GP colleagues.
‘The workshops provide an opportunity to absorb knowledge from the experts on stage, but the benefit of having colleagues there is enormous,’ Dr Cameron said.
‘It allows [GPs] to explore and test their thinking, as well as recalibrate where things have not worked as well as we would like.’ 
Running from May to November across most states and territories, the series comprises a one-day interactive workshop built around an existing clinic case study of two GP owners.
It will also take participants through a step-by-step outline of the development of a successful business and strategic plan, covering key areas of:

  • accounting and financials
  • getting the best out of practice staff
  • patients and services
  • doctor payments.
And with the pandemic presenting unprecedented challenges to all business owners, the masterclass series will aim to arm general practice owners with reassurance and tools to ensure sustainability of their business, while continuing to provide high-quality healthcare.
This includes access to subject matter experts experienced at addressing ‘most of the issues’ that will arise in a general practice ownership, Dr Cameron said.
‘We know the value in investing in upgrading our knowledge as medicos,’ he said.
‘This time is about improving business knowledge and skills. Reflective learning is key to consolidating learning and is really critical to lessons “sticking”.
‘Small group workshops really are the best environment for learning, reflections and connection and we have all been starved of these over the past two years.
‘It is exciting to get back into it.’
The Practice Owners Masterclass series is supported by CommBank Health, with the first workshop on 13 May in Hobart, and running across Australia until 24 November. Full details and registrations are available on the RACGP website.
The RACGP Practice Owners National Conference is also taking place in Hobart 14−15 May.
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