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How to develop a strategic business plan within GP practices

By: Ross Clark | Post date: 20/12/2017 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

In the changing health economy, can you give us some advice on creating a business plan?

Ross Clark, Partner at Hempsons, describes the resources and systems GP practices can use to develop a strategic business plan.

Transcript

It’s absolutely fundamental that each GP practice develops its own business plan or strategic plan. Now there are two key reasons for that. One is internal to the practice and one is external. So the external affect is what’s happening in the area around the practice. The easiest way to determine that is to look at the Clinical Commissioning Group’s commissioning plan, but more importantly, the Sustainability and Transformation Plan that each area has published for the integration of health and social care. That will show the practice what’s happening in the wider community within which it operates. Now, in most of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans I’ve seen, it’s primary care at scale and a push and drive towards practices working more closely together and integrating or even merging. So you then go back to the practice and develop a specific plan for the practice. Now one of the easiest and simplest of developing a simple plan is to take the practice accounts and to drop the income and expenditure figures from the last set of accounts into an excel spreadsheet and once you’ve got that column replicated then drag that column out and create 6 or 7 columns to the right. So, initially they will all be identical but what you’ve done is created a projection for the first 5 or 6 years going forward. You can then play with the formulas in the spreadsheet or you can alter figures such as income and expenditure. You could assume say a 3% reduction in income maybe, or you could assume that the locum costs are going to go up by 3, 4% a year. And what that does is, a relatively small change on year 1, you could see the vision and the effect of that going right through to 5 years, 6 years time. And you can then look at the effect on profitability and how that affects individual partners and their share of the profits and that’s a really powerful tool to get vision on the financial effects of small changes or significant effects on the practice. And that’s a really good basis to then look at how the practice would deal with that, what measures it can put in place now to help forestall say dangers such as cuts in income and how it can develop and deliver other services. And that then links across back to the macro plan where you are working more closely with other practices. Because you find that you can share costs, you can actually share resources, and actually that keeps your costs down and keeps the profitability up.  

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Ross Clark Medical Protection Expert

Ross Clark

Ross Clark is head of services for the North at Hempsons Healthcare Solicitors. He works with all aspects of GP primary care, with a current focus on the establishment of GP Federations and Provider Organisations across England.

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