Create opportunities with a solid strategy
Justin Cumberlege, a partner in the healthcare team of law firm Cripps, incorporating Pemberton Greenish, specialises in advising GPs. Here he looks at some of the ways practices can prepare for the year ahead.
Events will push your business around in unexpected ways and
not always in a good direction. By having a clear strategy in
place you can position your practice to seize opportunities and mitigate the effects of any setbacks that may arise.
With a promised £4.5 billion for GP and community care services under the NHS 10-year plan, being in the right place at the right time is important to ensure your patients are some of the beneficiaries, and that you receive the funding you want. How do you go about ensuring your practice is one which succeeds? Having a clear strategy is going to help you, but how can you plan ahead if the future is so uncertain?
First, you need to create the space to plan. Many GP practices have an ‘away day’ once a year, and if you do not, you should consider it. If the day is well planned, it will be very useful to:
- Review what has gone well in the last six months and why
- Review what has not gone well and what you would do better
- Consider what is being done well and if you can do more of it
- Consider solutions to current problems
- Discuss NHS policies and how you can make good use of the opportunities offered either as a practice or as a neighbourhood, cluster or alliance of practices
- Agree how your practice will look in 18, 24 and 36 months’ time and what steps are needed to get there
It often helps to have an independent facilitator to tackle difficult subjects constructively and move the conversation away from less relevant areas.
Consider whether – to achieve your aims – you need to change your partnership deed, perhaps the way profits are distributed, or how you assess the performance of partners.
Does the practice manager’s role properly set out what they are expected to do and are they properly respected (and rewarded) for their contribution? Would it be helpful if they had further training to meet an increasingly business-orientated role?
Are your premises fit for purpose for the future? Have you considered upgrading your premises to maximise their potential and to enable other services to be offered, or joining with another practice, health or care provider to build something better?
At the end of the away day ensure everyone is clear as to what they are going to do, and their personal responsibility to achieve it by a given date.
If you have planned for the future, it will go a long way to ensuring events do not derail you, that you are able to identify the right opportunities, and that you can seize them as they arise.
This article first appeared in Practice Management in February 2019.