Consultants are looking to increase private practice work survey finds

43% of consultants working in independent practice predict that they are likely to grow their business over the next five years.

The survey of 216 independent practitioners by leading medical defence organisation, the Medical Defence Union (MDU), and Independent Practitioner Today journal also revealed that half of doctors who currently only worked in the NHS thought they were more likely to undertake private practice work over the next five years, while 28% were unclear.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) stated that they still work or intended to undertake NHS work alongside their private practice.

However, for 58%, the biggest challenge to becoming a private practitioner was marketing themselves or their practice. Other challenges included having a positive work-life balance (47%), arranging indemnity for themselves or employees (44%), and managing patient data (41%).

Challenges, either faced or anticipated, after becoming a private practitioner included running a business (62%), meeting tax requirements (54%) and the logistics of billing patients (47%).   

Mr Jerard Ross, medico-legal adviser at the MDU, said:

"It has been a record year in the specialty areas you might expect – demand appears to be there.

"Clearly finance is a strong motivator for doctors to do private practice, but job satisfaction is another. The survey shows they have a desire to put their own stamp on the work and to service patients’ needs.

"Private practice is not about just providing indemnity, it is about making sure the MDU can help independent practitioners expand their business, run their business well and to make appropriate financial plans." 

The MDU and Independent Practitioner Today surveyed 216 independent practitioners in August 2023.

This page was correct at publication on 24/10/2023. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.