Although there is still an acute shortage of GPs in many of the key metropolitan areas in Australia, we have noticed that GPs are needing to invest more effort to build a strong and profitable patient base. One thing doesn’t seem to change: regular patients who return to their favourite GP, continue to provide the best job satisfaction and best financial security for GPs.
I am talking to a number of our contacts from Alecto and will be publishing a series of blogs in the coming months to highlight practical approaches used by some of the people we know called “Secrets of a successful GP”.
To start off our series, I contacted Dr Cassie who works on the Gold Coast and came to Australia about nine months ago. This is what she said:
I have been fortunate to generate a strong patient following almost immediately. On the advice of the practice manager, I worked every other Sunday initially to catch those opportunistic walk-in patients. It was a great way to introduce myself to patients who might be without a regular GP.
I often give out my business card to patients who seem to like the way I approach care and I ask to be my patient. As a result many new patients therefore call the clinic to ask for me by name. I have never had to prompt patients to refer me to their friends- it happens naturally when they are impressed with your professionalism.
I also target what I enjoy and do well. That is more satisfying for me and helps to expand my patient base. So in my case, I have been bulk billing all antenatal and postnatal patients because I enjoy seeing women and children for instance.
Additionally when I have time or gaps in my schedule, I will call patients as a follow-up. For instance these might be patients whom I have sent to hospital acutely or who are undergoing treatment away from clinic but I receive their letters in (for example chemo or complicated pregnancies). Or it might be ill children to check if they’ve improved overnight.
This just prompts the patients to know I am still there for them once they return to GP care and that I am following them – something that they invariably value and remember.
Dr Cassie – QLD GP