GPs seeking jobs in Australia are frequently seduced by the jobs offering the highest percentage of billings – 80% or more.
A higher percentage does not always equate to higher earnings. Typically, GP jobs are advertised with a range of billings from 50% to 70%, and in a few rare cases a figure as high as 75%.. But some of the most consistently high earning GPs Alecto has placed in recent years are only on 60-65% of billings.
But the single most important factor to consider is the level of patient demand at the practice. GPs in Australia are contracted to a practice, not salaried, and are only paid when issuing a ‘bill’ for a patient visit. Income therefore is directly proportional to the number of patients the GP manages.
To illustrate, compare the income in the following two scenarios:
A GP working in a busy practice on 60% of billings, seeing 5.5 patients per hour, at an average billing of $50 per patient visit, for 40 hours a week, will earn a weekly income of $6,600 – $303,600 per annum.
A GP working in a practice which isn’t busy and who is on 70% of billings, perhaps seeing 4 patients per hour at best, at an average billing of $50 per patient visit, for a 40 hour week, will earn a weekly income of $5,600 – $257,600 per annum – $46,000 less a year!
Being able to see 1.5 patients more in the 60% of billings scenario makes a considerable difference to the income over the course of the year. The GP at the busy practice has every opportunity to increase his earnings further by seeing 6 patients per hour – because there are plenty of patients – while the GP at the practice without strong patient demand may even struggle to see 4 patients per hour.
Alecto staff will always assist you in assessing the patient demand at a practice, to make sure you will be busy enough. We will tell you why we think there will be sufficient patient demand, sometimes it will be because it is an established practice – meaning that it has a long history of high patient demand. Other reasons include that the practice’s books are full, or they are turning away patients, or that you will be replacing a doctor and inheriting his/her patient list etc. These are all excellent indicators that you will be busy in the job and billing consistently during the hours that you work at the practice.
Where a job is advertised with billings of 75% and above, it is more than likely that there is some inherent risk that the patient demand at the practice is not predictable. It may be a new practice where there is no demonstrable patient demand, or it may be that the job is speculative – patient demand for another GP is not certain but the practice wants to ‘fly it and see!’
In some cases a job will be offered with a sliding scale of percentage of billings, maybe starting at 60% and increasing to 70% when certain pre-set targets are reached. A job like this may be good for a GP who is confident, works quickly and takes a fairly aggressive approach to increasing his/her patient billings, but it will be a less attractive opportunity for a GP who prefers to work at a slower pace, or to take more time with his/her patients.
For GPs keen to maximise their income, our advice is to chase the patient demand firstly, and then consider the percentage of billings. Of course, each opportunity needs to be assessed on its own merits and we will assist you in understanding the strengths of each job opportunity.
At Alecto we have an selection of busy practices offering attractive packages for the right GP with MRCGP and MICGP