6 important criteria for finding the best practice

12 March 2019 | Australian GPs | 5 minutes read

6 important criteria for finding the best practice

Finding a practice that ticks all your boxes can be challenging and time consuming. To make your job search easier, we have compiled a list of the 6 most important factors on choosing a practice that suits you.

#1 Percentage of billings

According to our 2018 GP salary survey, the number one reason why GPs would consider moving to another practice was to earn more money. You have studied many years and you’ve worked hard to become a fully qualified General Practitioner. Not surprisingly, the earnings form an important part in the job search.

Our survey has revealed that the most common rate of pay is 70% of billings, followed by 65%. So what percentage should you be aiming for? Generally said, the higher the better. However, this info should be taken with a gain of salt, because it also depends on how busy the practice is and how many patients you will see per day.

#2 Patient numbers

This is one of the most important elements to consider when looking at a practice. Is it located in a high growth area? Do they have GPs retiring or going on leave so you can take over their patient base? We recommend always asking the practice manager the following questions:

  • How many new patients do you get a week?
  • How many patients are you turning away for same day appointments?
  • Do you have an significant staff moments (retirement, maternity leave)?
  • What is happening in the surround suburbs? Are there any reasons why population growth has, or is about to increase?

It’s also good to do your own research independently, here are some things to consider

  • Visit the practice on varying days and times to see for yourself whether the waiting room is full or empty.
  • Is the practice located in a place with a lot of foot/vehicle traffic?
  • Is there sufficient parking?
  • Ask your recruitment agency what they have heard about the practice, and from other GPs they may have placed

It is worth noting that brand new practices often offer above average percentages of billings which sounds alluring, but if the patient numbers are very low, you may find yourself in a tricky situation.

#3 Location

If you’re only looking for GP jobs in the surrounds of where you live, it won’t be challenging for you to gauge whether a practice’s location is suitable or not. However, more often than not you find yourself looking for GP jobs in areas unfamiliar to you, e.g another city or a job in another state.

The practice location is a key factor for the type of work you do and the patients you see. Is the practice situated in a lower socio-economic or an affluent area? Another factor you can look at is demographic data of suburbs. It will shed some light on the type of patients you will be dealing with.

You can use this neat tool from the Bureau of Statistics to find demographic info on a particular suburb. Although it can be challenging working in lower-socioeconomic areas GPs often report that the patient needs are more complex and therefore their billings are often higher (eg. they do more care plans)

#4 Team environment & management and support

The practice environment depends on several factors, but some things to look out for include:

  • Do they have regular meetings where GPs can discuss more complex cases
  • Is it owned privately (by the lead GP) or by a corporate group? Both have different advantages, it just depends if you want more of a traditional family style practice, or more of an independent practice where you feel comfortable coming and going.
  • In many cases the size of the practice can really affect the culture as well

While you might be able to suss out the general vibe of a practice quickly on your interview day, it pays to do a bit of extra research.

Again, this is where a specialised GP recruitment agency adds a lot of value. At Alecto for example we have very high standards of practices we choose to work with. What’s more is that we know intricate details about practices that you would otherwise not be able to find. We regularly get feedback from doctors we place which helps us understand the practice environment on a more holistic level.

#5 Working hours

The first thing you want to look at is if they have any requirements for GPs to work in the evenings or weekends. In inner metro areas it is becoming more common that GPs are asked to do one late shift a week, or similar. For many practices these are peak times, so working these shifts allows you to pick up new patients. But depending on your personal circumstances working after-hours may not be an option.

#6 On the job development

You may be looking to develop your clinical skills in a particular area, can this practice support your learning and development? For example, does your practice have a skin care specialist that could teach an incoming GP? Is there an opportunity to watch and learn other skills such as cosmetics, contraceptive insertion, minor procedures etc?

Closing words

As you can see finding the perfect practice takes a bit of work. It’s much like finding a mortgage that suits your individual needs and financial goals. Knocking on every bank’s door and finding the right info is time consuming and tiring. That’s why people prefer to see a mortgage broker.

The same principle applies for GP jobs. It’s easier to deal with just one person who knows the market and understands your needs and then takes care of the rest. Best of all you don’t have to pay for this excellent service.

Would you like to talk to one of our talented recruitment consultants?

Please contact us for further advice.

Alecto Australia | +61 1800 604 332 | info@alecto.com.au

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