Hi, Dr Paul here for our second instalment of View From A Surgeon. Today we
are going to discuss why I decided to go it alone.
What do I mean when I say, “go it alone”? Well going it alone means leaving
behind the security and routine that the NHS provided, and choosing to set
up in private practice, having to not only carry on as a full time doctor, but
also to take on the responsibilities of an entrepreneur.
I decided to go it alone and set up my own private practice around fourteen
years ago, at a time where things were changing in the NHS. There were a lot
of restrictions put on me as a doctor in terms of when I could see patients,
what I could do for patients, the way I could treat patients and that whole
administrative load that came with it all.
For me personally, I felt that had a
huge effect on my patient care, in that I couldn’t give them the care that I
wanted to give and that I felt they deserved. For me, it caused a great degree
of frustration. I responded by leaving, knowing that I could provide the
service I wanted to if I had my own practice, without all the restrictions I felt
were tying me up in knots.
My first step was to hire myself out to trusts – still working within the NHS, but
on my own terms, all while growing my private business at the same time.
What was the benefit of doing this? Well it meant I could treat patients the
way I thought they deserved to be treated and the way I wanted to treat
them without being restricted. I was free to be my own boss and do things my
way, and this gave me an incredible feeling of self-worth.
But the real question is, if I were to do it all again now, would I do it the same
Yes – at least in terms of how and why I left the NHS. But perhaps if I were to
do it over I would look to do it in a group, especially now in more recent times
when we know that groups are looked at more favourably for a whole host of
reasons: clinical governance, mentoring, education, protection and coverage
when it comes to sickness and vacation time, as well as peer feedback and
sharing of best practice. Insurance groups and private medical providers are
becoming more and more keen on the idea of working with groups because of
the protection and security that comes from groups, suggesting that it will
become the standardised norm in the coming years for successful private
practices. If you’re worried this will give you less freedom, remember that
even if you set up within a group you can still “go it alone”: you can set up
your own company, but work within a cooperative or an LLP.
In the past 14 years things have changed a lot in the world of private
There’s a lot for you to think about if you want to set up on your
own, so make sure you have knowledgeable people around you that you
trust. I would definitely do it all again, but looking at the world now I would
definitely have done things differently when it comes to future-proofing
myself and my business.