Hello and welcome to the September edition of our newsletter.
e hope that you’ve all found some time to relax and recharge over the summer months. We find that taking time out helps us to re-focus our efforts and prioritise what’s really important.
In this months newsletter, Managing Director Jane Braithwaite shares what it takes to be listed on topdoctors.co.uk. From the closely guarded, unique algorithm that helps select its members to create the most professional looking profile.
We also talk finances. How many of you know the difference between Accounting and Bookkeeping? When you don’t work in Finance it can be difficult to know where the line is drawn. This month our Accountant helps us to distinguish the differences.
Finally, we have some positive news to share. Designated Medical has been awarded ‘best medical services provider in the UK’ by Global Health & Pharma Magazine (GHP)!
As always, we are here to help you. If there is anything we can do to support you or your practice, then please don’t hesitate to let us know by contacting us: firstname.lastname@example.org
At Designated Medical we are on a mission to share our expertise with our colleagues in the private healthcare sector. Recently we had the pleasure of spending time in discussions with Mar Fuentes Porto, Sales and Commercial Director of Top Doctors UK, and we are keen to share the gems of knowledge we gained with you.
We asked Mar to advise us on how consultants, who are members of Top Doctors, can maximise the benefit of the service and attract more patients.
Mar explained that membership of Top Doctors is like taking a gym membership. It’s great to be a member but, unless you turn up and invest time, you will not gain maximum benefit.
So, we asked Mar to explain exactly how our doctors should be investing their time and energy and she gave us some fabulous advice that we would like to share with you.
Firstly, it is important to say that not every doctor can be a member of Top Doctors and they use an algorithm to determine which doctors are the best fit for them. This algorithm is a closely guarded secret, much like the recipe for Coca Cola or Irn Bru for our Scottish readers, but Mar did share one valuable fact that will be helpful. To join Top Doctors, you must have been a consultant for a minimum of 10 years.
If you would like to enquire about becoming a member, please contact Top Doctors via their website as follows:-
Your Client Relationship Manager For those of you who are already members, you will have been allocated a Client Relationship Manager at Top Doctors who is available to support you, initially helping you to set up your profile and your online booking calendar, but also on an ongoing basis. You are encouraged to interact with your Client Relationship Manager regularly and explore opportunities for creating articles and videos to enhance your profile. If you are not sure who your Client Relationship Manger is then you can contact Top Doctors via email at email@example.com to find out.
Creating your Top Doctors Profile A great photo makes a great profile and so it is vital that you provide a professional headshot for your Top Doctors profile. If you take a quick look at existing profiles, it is very easy to see which consultants have used professional headshots and which ones have taken a quick selfie. This obviously has an impact on patients checking out your profile and we would recommend that investing in a professional headshot is time and money well spent.
The information needed to complete your profile includes details of your areas of expertise and these are key as these will be highlighted to patients. You will also create a Personal statement which allows you to share a more descriptive overview of your expertise and areas of focus.
There is also a section within your profile that allows you to link to external resources including research that you have been involved in and your social media profiles including LinkedIn and Twitter.
Appointment booking Patients who read your profile and decide they wish to book to see you will be given 3 options.
Call your practice to book an appointment
Book an appointment online
Book an e-consult – either contacting you by private messaging or video conference
Online booking The online booking facility made available by Top Doctors is incredibly powerful and is loved by patients, but it needs to be carefully managed by you and your team. You are able to make appointments available for patients to book immediately but the booking system will not automatically update your own practice management system and they will need to be manually updated by your Medical PA.
If you read the reviews of Top Doctors on Trust Pilot, you will see the overall rating of the service is excellent at 4.2 out of 5. But if you look at the more critical reviews, you will see that largely these relate to poor management by consultants of the online booking facility. Patients are clearly frustrated when they book a tentative appointment online and receive no follow up from the doctor’s team. In many cases the patients are told that the appointment offered on the Top Doctors website is not available leading to disappointment. All of this is easily avoided when the booking system is managed properly.
We would suggest that you arrange for your Medical PA to talk directly to your Client Relationship Manager to get advice on how best to manage the system and avoid any issues.
Next Steps Once you have created your profile, your online booking calendar is set up and your Medical PA is comfortable with managing your bookings, you can start to focus your attention on enhancing your profile further. There are 3 main mechanisms to do so including patient reviews, publishing articles and sharing video content.
Patient reviews Patient reviews are so important and if you are not encouraging your patients to leave reviews for you then we would recommend you create a strategy to do so asap. Your Top Doctors profile enables you to easily encourage patients to leave reviews, and these will greatly enhance your profile.
According to Bright Local, and their local consumer review survey in 2020, 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day, and the industries in which consumers are most likely to have read reviews are restaurants, hotels and, in 3rd place, Medical.
The Top Doctors review facility asks patients to give a rating out of 5 in a number of areas as follows:-
Would you recommend this doctor?
Friendliness of staff
Over time, you can build up a number of reviews which will greatly enhance your profile.
Publishing Articles To enhance your profile further and attract patients, you can add a number of articles to your profile. Mar suggested that adding one new article every six months would be valuable, but you are encouraged to publish articles more regularly. Your choice of subjects should cover the sort of questions you get asked by patients regarding the treatments you offer. Think of your “frequently asked questions” and look to answer those, remembering that you are writing for your patients and not for medical specialists.
Video Content As with articles, you can add videos to your profile, and these again help to optimise your profile and attract more patients. A good starting point is an introductory video allowing you to describe the services and treatments you offer. You can also provide a video tour of your working environment, showing the hospital environment and the consulting rooms in which your patients will meet you, helping them to feel more comfortable about their first visit to see you. Over time you can add additional videos that focus on specific treatments you offer, explaining the benefits of a procedure and answering frequently asked questions.
To complement your patient reviews, you could also add video patient testimonials which would be incredibly popular with potential patients.
Keep in mind that your videos should be brief and interesting. Plan the content very carefully before you start to film to ensure you make your key points in an engaging way for your patients.
We hope we have provided you with some helpful guidance to assist you in becoming a Top Doctor on Top Doctors. At Designated Medical we aim to provide consultants and healthcare business owners with the support they need allowing them to focus on delivering the greatest patient experience. We provide support across the functional areas of Medical PA, Marketing, Accountancy, HR and recruitment.
If you would like any further information or support, please do feel free to contact our Client Relationship Manager, Michelle Elliott on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7952 1437.
How to set up your PHIN profile. A step-by-step guide.
Last month we posted an article in relation to PHIN, and the importance of having a profile and keeping it up to date.
We sat down with Jonathan Evans Communications and External Affairs Manager, Private Healthcare Information Network(PHIN), to ask him why private practitioners should be part of their network.
For those of you who may not be familiar with PHIN, it is an independent, government-mandated source of information about private healthcare. The principle behind the network is to ‘empower patients to make better-informed choices when choosing private treatment.’
If you have not yet read our first article ‘Is your PHIN profile accurate’ we recommend doing so before continuing with this article.
When we posted the article we received many messages about the set-up process so thought it would be worth creating a follow up to take you through it step-by-step.
The CMA Order 2014 requires private healthcare facilities in the UK to submit private activity data to PHIN. Consultants are invited to review and verify the data submitted by facilities about their practice via the PHIN Consultant Portal.
Following some helpful feedback from consultants, PHIN has made some changes to the Portal, making the login journey easier. To access the new Portal you will need to activate your account, even if you have logged in before. An email will be sent to your GMC registered email address inviting you to activate your Portal account.
To demonstrate activating your account before signing in, there are steps below to help.
The first step is to visit the Portal:
https://portal.phin.org.uk/ and click ‘activate your account’ under the sign-in button.
Follow the steps on the screen to activate your account.
To confirm you are the owner of the email address that you are using, request a security code by entering the email address you have registered with the GMC and select ‘Request security code’. This will arrive in your inbox shortly.
The security code you receive will be sent from a Microsoft account on behalf of PHIN. You will need to use the 6 digit code to verify that you are the owner of the email address.
Enter the security code and click ‘submit code’.
Your email address will then be successfully verified and you will be asked to create a new password.
Please follow the on-screen guidance to create your password and include both upper and lower case letters, digits and symbols to generate a strong password.
Once you’ve created a new password, click ‘Create’. You should then be able to log in to the PHIN Portal.
So there you have it. Your step by step process to accessing and setting up your PHIN profile. PHIN is a legal requirement for all consultants in the UK, but we asked Jonathan what else would he add to the standard information available on PHIN, especially to new consultants entering private healthcare. He told us:
‘Engaging with PHIN is really important. Not only is it a legal requirement to engage with PHIN to submit fee information but reviewing your data and signing it off for publication is crucial and, when consultants have done that, many of them tell us that it is a very valuable resource.
Following the Paterson Inquiry and greater collaboration between the NHS and private sector through the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a big push for greater transparency, and it is unlikely that private healthcare will ever go back to the days of old. People considering private treatment are consumers and they act like consumers.
Greater transparency about what work consultants and hospitals undertake, and the outcomes (i.e. the benefit to patients), is now an expectation.
PHIN is not only a great place to market yourself, but it is also a place where you can view your whole practice data. This can help with whole practice appraisal and revalidation, but many consultants also find this helpful for understanding the care they provide in relation to others.’
Our team at Designated Medical are available to support you with delivering the PHIN criteria. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with your Medical PA or Designated team to find out more: email@example.com
Planning to leave the NHS? For the huge number of doctors who say they are contemplating a move,Jane Braithwaite shares details of the support available that can offer a route to an alternative career path.
The last year has been a struggle for everyone in some respect, but for those working in the NHS the pressure of dealing with Covid-19 has been immense.
We all vividly remember the battle to provide everyone in the health service with adequate PPE, so they felt some level of protection, closely followed by harrowing images of faces battered and bruised by long periods of wearing masks.
Those working in primary care had to adapt to deliver a Covid-safe environment for patients and transform the provision of most services using technology to provide virtual consultations.
As vaccines became available, GP practices and hospitals have worked something close to a miracle to ensure they can be administered throughout the population rapidly.
We have recently seen a new campaign entitled ‘If I die, it will be your fault’, launched by the Institute of General Practice Management to call for an end to abuse from patients following their latest report, which concludes that most GP receptionists face unprecedented levels of abuse at work.
And now the same NHS staff face the challenge of dealing with long waiting lists of patients whose treatment has been delayed by Covid.
A report earlier this summer from the BMA delivers a stark and worrying insight into how doctors are feeling right now, and the evidence is clear that many of them are unhappy and are considering leaving the NHS in the next year.
It said: ‘Thousands of exhausted doctors in the UK have told the BMA they are considering leaving the NHS in the next year, as many continue to battle stress and burnout without adequate respite from the exhaustion caused by the demands of the pandemic.’
Responses came from over 4,000 doctors and 31% of them stated they are more likely to take early retirement, which has more than doubled since the survey was done 12 months ago. Half of the respondents said they are more likely to work fewer hours and 25% more likely to take a career break.
The survey also suggests a strong desire by many to continue to work, but in a different environment. Twenty per cent of respondents are more likely to leave the NHS for another career, with 17% considering working in another country and 14% more likely to work as a locum.
If doctors follow through on these desires to retire, work fewer hours or leave the NHS for another career, huge resource gaps will develop in the NHS.
Of course, over time, the desire for some doctors to leave the NHS may decline and the NHS pension may be an important factor, but for those who are considering alternative careers, I wanted to investigate and share details of the support and the organisations available that can offer a route to an alternative career path.
Before considering the options, it is also helpful to understand the reasons why there is a desire to leave the NHS, as this gives useful insight into the objectives of doctors when seeking alternative careers.
We often assume, when it comes to career choice, that money is the greatest motivator for most individuals.
But the BMA survey showed that pay was quoted as the main reason for leaving the NHS by 29% of the respondents, while workload and personal well-being drew a much higher response.
Forty-four per cent of respondents looking to leave the NHS said that workload was a factor and 43% highlighted their own personal well-being.
So in looking for alternative careers, opportunities that offer a more manageable workload and a better work-life balance will be hugely appealing.
Of course, finances will be a significant factor for many and a great place to look for helpful information isMedics Money.
Medics money was founded by Dr Tommy Perkins and Dr Ed Cantelo to help doctors, dentists and other professionals make better financial decisions. Of particular note, Ed is a GP trainee and also a chartered accountant and tax adviser with nine years’ experience at accountancy firm PWC.
On its website, you will find a wealth of resources in the form of articles and eBooks, but its most valuable offering is a series of podcasts in which it covers a huge range of topics of relevance to the profession.
It’s latest offering, called ‘Episode 44 – The NHS pensions trap with salary sacrifice’, would be a good listen as would ‘Episode 25 – Using a limited company to save tax and invest to retire early.
One obvious option for doctors looking for a career outside the NHS is, of course, private practice, and with a greater desire for improved well-being and a more manageable workload, this is most definitely an option that may appeal to many.
The aim of Private Practice Pro is to help doctors launch, run and grow their own private medical practice. It is founded by Mr Giles Davies, consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon, and Tom Davies who is a lawyer and former chief investment officer of Seedrs.
Private Practice Prooffers a video-based course for doctors looking to set up in private practice with Giles acting as medical coach and Tom as a business coach.
The course is made up of over 55 on-demand videos complemented by 30 templates and guides and, for interested doctors, Private Practice Pro regularly runs webinars and small-group workshops.
For the more entrepreneurial doctors,Doctorpreneursis a global community of doctors, medical students and other interested individuals focusing on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.
In its most recent newsletter, it includes an inspiring interview with the chief executive and founder of Tympa Health, which is a London based start-up that has created the world’s first, all in one, hearing health assessment system.
It also includes details of job opportunities across a wide range of sectors. This is a good place to start to understand the type of job opportunities that are currently available and it is an exciting discovery.
It is free to join, and you simply sign up on its website.
My final suggestion isMedic Footprints, who provide ‘The world’s biggest gateway to alternative careers for doctors’.
This is again an organisation led by doctors, providing a wealth of information on their website regarding changing careers and connecting doctors with career coaches who can help manage the process.
Their job board presents several exciting opportunities including some overseas roles that will appeal to those doctors interested in working outside the UK.
You can join their community for free on their website or upgrade to their premium package for access to their series of webinars and a free CV review.
In my search for supportive organisations for doctors when looking for a career change, I also discovered that the NHS provides further information on its website.
Back in 2017, NHS England published a paper offering guidance for doctors looking to leave the NHS, which included a selection of organisations including Medic Footprints.
In an ideal world, we would all like doctors to enjoy their career within the NHS and to want to stay, but right now it seems the best approach may be to ensure that the wealth of talent is not lost and is engaged in other rewarding healthcare careers that ultimately benefit the UK population now and in the future.
In my role as MD at Designated Medical, I work with many doctors pursuing either a full- or part-time career in private practice and I would be happy to help anyone who would like to know more about getting started.
Hello and welcome to the June edition of our newsletter. It has been a busy few months here at Designated Medical, and we are very much looking forward to the warmer summer months to re-charge the batteries. On the Medical PA side of the business, we have received an average of 4100 calls per month (over the past three months) and consistently answered 90% of these calls.
Medical PA’s can be a lifeline to busy consultants and healthcare workers, by taking away the long list of necessary but time-consuming administration tasks. This free’s up crucial time to offer extra support and care in the areas that really make a big difference to you and your patients.
In this month’s newsletter, we put the spotlight on one of our valuable clients, Richard Lee, Clinical Lead for the Ophthalmology service at Chelsea and Westminster. Richard is supported in his work by a Designated Medical PA.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken its toll on healthcare workers, so this month we look at how you can nurture your teams’ mental well-being, an insightful piece was written by our Managing Director, Jane Braithwaite and originally posted on Independent Practitioner Today, we encourage you to click through to read the complete article on our blog. As always, we are here to help you.
Should you have any thoughts or questions regarding the content in this newsletter or ideas for upcoming features please don’t hesitate to let us know by contacting our friendly team.