‘You can’t expect to get rich quick’



It is very hard to make money from private practice if you don’t have much of it, a consultant general surgeon warned.

Mr Charlie Chan

Mr Charlie Chan, deputy chairman of the Federation of Indep­endent Practitioner Organ­isations (FIPO), advised those wanting to do private practice to ‘go for it!’

‘You have to accept you are not going to make masses of money in the first year or two. But if you stick with it, you look after your customers, you grow. Your brand grows. 

‘If you look after people, they will come back and they will tell their friends and their friends will tell their friends.’ 

But doctors would not build up the necessary momentum if they did less than a minimum a week. 

He warned newcomers that expenses in a small private practice would amount to a bigger proportion of turnover. Diversifi­cation would protect income.


Doctors should not skimp when choosing a PA and should look after them. They could make or break a practice, Mr Chan added.

If PAs could not answer phones or reply to emails quickly, then practitioners would lose business because the inquirer would find someone else. 

Those who thought patients would come to them because they were the best were mistaken. Amazon had changed everything and people wanted instant fulfilment. 

Mr Chan said a larger team was reassuring for patients and enabled better care for those with cover. Cross-referral to colleagues led to referrals back.

He suggested people should be treated like friends and family. ‘Find out what makes them tick. The people bit is much more fun than the technical stuff. Patients will respect you.’

Practitioners should put themselves in customers’ shoes and ask themselves: ‘When would you like to be seen?’, ‘How would you like to be treated?’ and ‘Would the
customer recommend you on Tripadvisor?’ he said.