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Things to include in your service agreements*

When drafting a service agreement for GPs, managing your practice’s best interests with the needs of an incoming GP can be a fine balancing act. You want to provide a great opportunity to a new GP, but you also want to make sure that your GP practice is adequately protected in the future.  You also want to make sure that both parties are clear about what to expect of each other.

Some things you might want to include in your GP Service Agreements (if you are not already doing so).

  • DWS replacement clause
    This should stipulate that if a GP who holds a 19AB exemption obtains a provider number while the practice is deemed as a DWS zone, the doctor must sign a statutory declaration and cancel the provider number to allow you to re-use the provider number for a replacement doctor.
  • Payment of service fees
    Clearly outline the process for payments of service fees and the agreed percentage split – as well as your approach to managing GST payments on your service fee.
  • Incentive programs
    Your letter of offer should clearly outline whether the doctor is entitled to any PNIPs or SIPs and if so, how these will be be paid.
  • Restraints of trade
    We recommend enforcing a restraint of trade area so that if the GP leaves the practice, you are protected from the GP taking his/her patients to a new practice nearby.  Your contract should clearly state how far it will extend (e.g. a 5km radius) and how long the restraint of trade will be in effect for (e.g 6 or 12 months).  It is very important to ensure that the restraint requirements are fair and reasonable, as the courts generally will not uphold a restraint that is likely to make impact negatively on the career of a GP and they will cancel the restraint rather than reducing it.
  • Holiday allowances (unpaid)
    This becomes particularly important if you are working with overseas GPs, as they will usually want to have 5-6 weeks of leave each year. To avoid animosity, make sure this timeframe is clearly indicated and agreed upon in their contract.
  • Total number of hours on the roster
    Make sure the GP has a clear understanding of the minimum hours they are expected to work each week or fortnight. And if applicable, their agreed commitments to the after-hours/weekend roster.   This is not designed to be prescriptive, but rather to provide clarity about your expectations and to allow you to roster effectively.

We negotiate contracts on behalf of doctors every day of the week and know what to look for. If you are having trouble drafting or updating a contract, contact us on [email protected] for ideas!

*Please note that we cannot provide legal advice or take responsibility for the decision made as a result of this article.  We are simply providing practical suggestions for your consideration.