September 2023 Edition of Stay Connected


Welcome to September’s edition of Stay Connected.

This month we are looking at patient experience and the pivitol role it takes within a private practice.

Every practice owner understands the significance of the patient’s journey and how providing a high quality service can enhance a patient’s experience and well being. However, have you ever taken the time to thoroughly assess your patient’s journey and critically analyse whether each interaction point is optimised to its fullest potential?

Read our article below, which details strategies for delivering an exceptionally superior patient experience.

In addition, we speak to one of our clients, Nick Panay, Founder of Hormone Health. He outlines why Designated Medical has been so instrumental in guiding the practice in its patient focussed marketing strategy and how the relationship has continued to develop.

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Our Finance Director answers some FAQ’s about medical billing


Designated Medical - Medical Accountancy - Vicky Garbett

Let’s hear from Designated Medical’s Finance Director, Vicky Garbett as she answers our questions.

Q: What sets Designated Medical’s billing service apart from others?

  • Our billing services are unique to Designated Medical in several ways. Our clients are only charged for paid invoices, providing cost-effectiveness and incentive for us to raise and settle invoices promptly. Payments are directly deposited into the consultant’s bank account, eliminating any delays in accessing funds. My billing team focuses on delivering a high-quality patient experience, combining expertise in medical billing with a patient-centred approach. All our billing processes are designed and managed by chartered and licensed accountants, ensuring efficiency and transparency.

Q: What support does Designated Medical’s medical billing service offer for private practices?

  • Our medical billing service aims to support private practices by allowing consultants to focus on patient care while ensuring an exceptional patient experience. My team delivers prompt and accurate invoicing with effective credit control to ensure timely payment for services rendered.

Q: How does Designated Medical’s medical billing team ensure efficient billing and patient care?

  • With my experience working with medical finance clients, I have developed efficient systems and processes to ensure timely and accurate billing while maintaining a high level of patient care. My team works closely with both consultants and Medical PAs to raise invoices promptly for each patient, sending them to the appropriate insurance company or directly to the patient. We send weekly update reports to keep consultants informed of progress, allowing for financial control and peace of mind.

Q: How does Designated Medical provide transparency and financial control for private practices?

  • We provide weekly summary reports to our clients, offering details of all invoices raised, monies received, and the aged debt position. This allows our consultants to have complete financial control over their practice and enables them to address any problematic situations. By keeping clients informed and involving them in decision-making, we ensure transparency and collaboration in managing the financial aspects of the practice.

Q: What approach does Designated Medical take in establishing billing processes?

  • We focus on establishing solid processes that ensure accurate, fast, and transparent billing for private practices. We work closely with consultants to agree on these processes, which are then handled by my team. We utilise the best available systems, such as Practice Management Systems (PMS), to manage billing processes. Integration with PMS and financial systems like Xero provides visibility and reduces the need for manual communication. We also use Healthcode for insurance company billing, automating the process for efficiency.

Q: How does Designated Medical address aged debt and reconciliations?

  • My team focuses on clearing aged debt as quickly as possible, ensuring that consultants get paid for the work they have done. They also address any backlog of payments that have not been reconciled, updating patient records accurately. Our focus on processes prevents aged debt and backlogs from reoccurring, providing financial stability for your practice.

Q: What qualifications and certifications does Designated Medical’s medical billing team possess?

  • I am a qualified and licensed Accountant accredited by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), as are the other team leaders. We design processes that simplify year-end accounting responsibilities and work with integrated financial systems like Xero. The team has expertise in GDPR compliance and security, and Designated Medical has achieved the Cyber Essentials certificate of assurance, demonstrating adherence to cyber security.

Vicky Garbett
Finance Director of Designated Medical

If you need any advice, please do contact the team at Designed Medical.

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Did you know PHIN can help your practice meet legal requirements?


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 sets out the actions that the sector is required to take to ensure that it works competitively.

One area that the Order addresses is the requirement to provide potential users with access to independent information about the performance of those providing services, and the charges made for those services. Hospitals which admit private patients must submit information about each episode of private care to the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). This information allows PHIN to publish performance measures for these hospitals in line with the CMA’s requirements. To fulfil their legal obligation, consultants must submit the professional fees that they charge to patients for consultations and procedures for each site where they practice privately. Fees need to be submitted via PHIN’s Consultant Portal.

Consultants are also invited to review and verify the data submitted by hospitals/facilities about their practice and to review patient feedback data.

What’s in it for me?

As well as fulfilling the legal duties, PHIN strongly encourages consultants to complete a profile which will be published on its website. Patients have informed PHIN that they want to see information about consultants who may possibly be able to help them with treatment or care in relation to their condition. 76% of consultants who create a complete profile (including a photograph and information about their practice) are usually viewed by PHIN’s website users. Some consultants receive many hundreds of views. There is a direct link between site views and clicks through to contact information (telephone/email) provided by consultants. The number of patients using PHIN’s website is increasing, so these numbers will only rise.

The dedicated Consultant team at PHIN offers virtual sessions to consultants to cover the following topics:

· Logging onto the portal

· Viewing your practice report

· Verifying your data for publication

· Submitting and approving fees

· Reviewing patient feedback

· Creating a profile about you

The Team is always happy to help with any queries and the booking of virtual sessions and can be contacted via email: or by calling 020 3143 3177.

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March 2023 Edition of Stay Connected


Welcome to March’s edition of Stay Connected

Here at Designated Medical, we are delighted to announce the launch of our new website with a new community hub section.

The brand new community hub we have developed, along with a whole host of content rich blogs and articles that we hope, will be of so much benefit to you and your practice. 

Please register for our Designated Community Library, it is free and easy. Once registered you will be able to access our community content which is essential reading for any private practice. With more content like the blog below we have so much information ready and waiting for you, and more and more content added each month.


This month we hear from one of our clients about the accountancy service we provide for him and how this helps his practice. We are also highlighting exactly why marketing for your private practice is so important.

We are also looking at the thorny subject of call answering and how that can impact your practice. Our Managing Director, Jane Braithwaite looks deeper into this issue and highlights some important factors to consider.

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How to make your group a success.


Originally published in Independent Practitioner Today in March 2023, our Managing Director Jane Braithwaite summarises the ten main considerations to ensure your group has maximum potential for success.

What makes a successful group? The guidelines for creating and maintaining a successful group reflect similar ones that would be set for any team of people working together.

Undoubtedly, a successful group is one motivated by the shared core values of its members. When your group shares the same sense of purpose, they celebrate and champion each other, creating a culture of excellence within the business.

1) Agreed goals and objective

When the group was formed, the group members agreed on the group’s goals and objectives. Each group member documented this agreement in writing and signed to signify their understanding and commitment. This important document is referred to as their contract and they took advice from their accountant and lawyer to ensure all eventualities were catered for. This activity gives the group clear direction and a common aim to work towards collectively. When any change is made to the group – for example, a member leaving or a new member joining – the contract is updated to reflect this. Clearly defined goals enable everyone within the group to maintain a clear vision of what the group is aiming to achieve.

2) Leadership

A group is usually a partnership where all members are of equal standing. But a successful one will have nominated one individual to act as the group leader or managing partner. This is often the group founder, the person who originally created the concept of the group, or it may have been a joint decision, choosing the individual with the greatest leadership skills. The leader is trusted and respected by the group members and encourages everyone to work collaboratively. The leader also encourages a positive work environment and work ethic. Ultimately, the leader is required to ensure good decisions are made in a timely manner. This is especially important when consensus cannot be reached promptly.

3) Communication

Every month, the group members meet to discuss the performance of the group. They communicate openly with each other, sharing their thoughts, opinions and ideas and they take time to consider what others have to say. On a daily basis, the group members are open and honest in their communications, highlighting concerns or issues and enabling them to be addressed before they become bigger problems. Everyone trusts one another and feels able to speak up. This continuing open dialogue helps ensure that conflict is mostly avoided, but when conflict does occur, it is handled professionally.

4) Clear responsibilities

Everyone recognises that running the group is equivalent to running a business, which brings additional responsibilities. The group has identified the relevant management roles and responsibilities and has allocated these fairly across the group members. Everyone contributes their fair share towards the workload of running the group and each individual understands their responsibilities and where they fit in with the overall running of the business. This helps to prevent overlap, miscommunication and misunderstanding. They take ownership of their area, are committed to their work and they care about the success of the group overall.

5) Clearly defined financial model

When the group was formed, its financial model was clearly defined and described in the contract that each group member signed. Each individual has clarity on how their financial rewards will be calculated and, therefore, clearly understands how their work contributes to their financial success. Rewards are fair and unbiased and represent the hard work and contribution made by each individual. The agreed financial model is motivating and increases job satisfaction. The agreements made were realistic and expectations were met. It was understood that, like any business, the group would take time to establish itself and the financial rewards may take time to build. The group regularly discusses and reviews financial performance throughout the year to ensure a clear understanding of progress made and how this impacts each individual to avoid any surprises at year end.

6) Decision-making

When important decisions need to be made, the group members can openly discuss their views and contribute to making the best decision for the group overall. When there is disagreement, the group members actively listen to each opinion and aim to compromise to reach an agreement. When needed, the nominated leader of the group can make the decision, and the group members respect and support the decision. A lack of decision-making can be damaging. It is critical that people communicate their concerns, have a clear vision of where they are headed and make decisions. Not everyone may agree on the decision, the tactics or how to work together, but still the team must make a decision and move forward.

7) Consistent standards of patient care

The group members share a common view on the level of care that their patients should receive and aim to deliver a similar patient experience. When the group was formed, the clinicians discussed their views on patient experience and agreed on standards of care that the group would commit to delivering and they adhere to these expectations daily. This enables them to feel comfortable referring their patients to their colleagues within the group for additional treatments and to care for each other’s patients during periods of absence and holidays. When a patient complaint is made, the group reviews the complaint together and investigates the causes openly and honestly. There is no blame, so the discussion focuses on how to manage the situation to achieve the best outcome for this particular patient and how to learn from this event and improve processes to prevent a recurrence. All group members commit to continual learning to ensure their knowledge is up to date. They share their expertise widely within the team and aim to enhance every­one’s skill sets.

8) Organised, disciplined and well-managed

Each clinician professionally manages their own practice. The administration is well managed and patient communication is exceptional. The business itself is also run in an organised and disciplined manner. Each group member manages their responsibilities diligently and delivers their work to the agreed deadlines. Each group member is respectful of others by attending meetings on time and submitting their contributions on time. Regular meetings are held to ensure everyone is on the same page and deadlines are being met,

9) Supportive

The doctors perform well as a team and the group exhibits a collaborative work environment. Each group member has a positive attitude and work ethic, and the group is efficient and productive. No single individual dominates discussions and each person has an equal opportunity to be heard. The culture of the group is supportive, with each group member actively supporting others when needed; for example, when one individual is under pressure with their workload or facing a difficult clinical decision. Each clinician has different expertise and experience, utilised across the group through collaboration. This diversity is respected and embraced to offer patients the best possible care.

10) Enjoyment

Within a truly successful group, the doctors enjoy their work and they enjoy working together, having a sense of achievement and of fun. They enjoy the company of their colleagues and value their discussions, both clinical and business related. Positive relationships built across the group help create a relaxed environment and reduce conflict. The group members have constructive chats about work-life balance and they encourage one another to maintain a healthy balance, recognising this helps prevent burn-out and ensures they are all able to perform to the best of their abilities.

Jane Braithwaite
MD of Designated Medical

If you need any advice, please do contact the team at Designed Medical.

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How can our group find a new partner?


Originally published in Independent Practitioner Today in February 2023, our Managing Director Jane Braithwaite gives her advice on how to attract the right partner to join your practice.

Our group is working very successfully, and we would like to attract a new partner to join us. How do we find the right person and ensure the group continues to thrive?

Firstly congratulations on founding a thriving group where the partners are working well together and the practice is growing. The decision to recruit a new partner is usually driven by an increased patient workload that needs to be shared by a greater number of doctors and this is a great position to reach. Another reason might be that one partner wishes to reduce their workload, which will need to be picked up by a new partner.

Whatever the reason, recruiting a new partner often comes with some anxiety. When a tightly bonded group works successfully together, there is an understandable concern about introducing a new person to the group and potentially changing the group dynamics.

An ideal group is formed when all the partners have aligned goals. When the original group was created, discussions were likely held to identify common goals and objectives. These goals may relate to the practice’s growth and utilising complementary skillsets to offer patients a wider range of services. There may also have been a goal to create economies of scale and reduce the costs of running individual practices by sharing the overheads.

Running a group is effectively managing a business, and the current partners will have agreed responsibilities for the various business functions, including finance, marketing and medico-legal responsibilities.

One of the most challenging aspects of running a group is ensuring all partners are satisfied with the financial arrangement. While most doctors do not enter the profession purely for monetary rewards, they expect to be rewarded fairly for the work done and the expertise provided to patients. On day one, the group agreed on how finances will be managed, which will be important when recruiting a new partner.

In most cases, the group will have created a contractual agreement to state the objectives and goals of the group, clarify responsibilities and expectations and describe the financial model. If this is not the case, it would be wise to do this before embarking on the recruitment of a new partner, forming the basis of a new partnership agreement to reflect the expanded group. The partners themselves can produce this, or you may prefer to engage professional support via your accountant or a legal advisor.

Describe your ideal partner

A new partner can expand the group in more ways than pure size. Rather than just co-opting the first consultant that has the right experience and shows an interest, it is wise to consider what skills and knowledge would complement your own. Is there special training or background that may help the group expand revenues and offer new services to patients in the future?

There is a job description for most jobs, defining the role itself and objectives, and also clarifying terms and conditions. When looking for a new partner, a good starting point is to build a job specification based on your ideal worldview of the right person for your team. The specification will include the expertise and skills required, possibly similar to the current partners or possibly with a different and complementary set of skills. Also state the group’s objectives, goals and aspirations so that you can assess if your new partner is a good fit in terms of their own ambitions. For example, if your goal is to continue the group for the next 10 to 15 years and a prospective partner plans to retire in 2 years, there may be a better fit.

What administrative and management responsibilities would you expect your new partner to take? This might be an excellent opportunity to review the administrative workload of the current partners and share the burden more fairly. You may also have new initiatives you wish to explore, and your new partner could take the lead.

If some of the workload could be managed without the direct input of a consultant, you could employ staff, for example, a nurse or HCA, to undertake tasks on your behalf. This can help ensure that your limited time is spent on activities only you can perform. If you do not currently employ clinical staff, advice is needed to ensure that you are providing a service that is safe and well-supervised including the provision of training and professional development.

You may also explore outsourcing more of the administration and management tasks to an appropriate specialist company. For example, your bookkeeping could be managed by an expert in this field with the added benefits of bringing their skills and experience into your business.

Finally, and very importantly, you must clarify the financial model offered to your new partner. Be clear and transparent. Refrain from the temptation to oversell the arrangements. It is far better to attract the right person with an honest and realistic plan than deal with disappointment later in the process.

Once complete, your job specification will provide you with a valuable tool to share with potential partners and also for you to use when shortlisting and interviewing.

How to find your new partner?

You are effectively undertaking a recruitment exercise; therefore, drawing from recruitment consultants’ and headhunting firms’ processes and models makes sense. Not all of the standard procedures will be appropriate and you will need to adapt them to your circumstances, particularly how publicly you want to share your plans.

Your first task is to attract potential candidates for your role. A recruitment consultant would advertise the role on various recruitment sites and invite interested parties to apply. This general approach may not sit well with you if you wish to proceed slightly under the radar, but there may be some associations that you are a member of that would be able to share your role in a professional manner.

A headhunter takes a more proactive, but discreet, approach than a recruitment consultant and would research potential candidates and contact them directly. This may align more closely with your preferred style, but it will require an investment of your time. The starting point is identifying the individual candidates who might be a good fit for the role and contacting each one to explore the opportunity.

As with most things in life, word-of-mouth recommendations are usually best, and so it would be sensible to discuss your plans with colleagues who might know of a consultant who would be interested. Make the most of your own personal networks and utilise professional networks that you are a member of.

Once you have a number of potential candidates, you must make a shortlist of two or three individuals with whom to explore the opportunity in greater detail. Creating the shortlist is an activity in which all the current partners should ideally be involved. Reflect on the job specification you created initially and take both a logical and an emotional approach to your decision making. Consider how well each individual matches the job specification, ranking each person, but also consider your instinct regarding who is the best fit in terms of aspirations, style and character. Your new partner needs to be a good fit in terms of skills, expertise, and personality.

The next stage is the interview stage which should be a face-to-face discussion, with one or more of the current partners. This meeting should be relaxed and open to allow both sides to determine if there is a good fit. This is a big decision for everyone involved so allow time after the meeting for everyone to reflect before agreeing on the next steps. You may need a second meeting before a decision can be reached.

Thinking back to our specialist recruitment companies, they would request references. Whilst doing this might be considered unseemly, it would be perfectly acceptable to talk to colleagues who know the person well to gain as much background information as possible.

Finally, you have identified the right partner for your group and wish to offer the role to your chosen partner formally. Congratulations. The role can be offered verbally but also confirmed in writing, subject to the agreement of the Partnership Agreement. Be prepared for some negotiation and agree between the current partners on what aspects of your offer you are prepared to move, if needed.

Revised Partnership Agreement

Once your new partner has accepted the role, a contract must be signed by both parties in the form of a revised partnership agreement. As mentioned earlier, the partners can produce this or you may prefer to ask a specialist such as your accountant or a lawyer to draft the agreement for you.

Good communication is key to the success of any group. Diarise regular partner meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis and ideally face to face, at least for the first few months You may also choose one partner, in particular, to act as a mentor to your new partner, at least for the first six months. This could include monthly one-to-one review meetings, which provide an opportunity to review progress and for both sides to raise any concerns and address any issues.

Remember it is normal for a new group to experience some challenges in the early months as described very helpfully in Tuckman’s stages of group development. Bruce Tuckman first published his model in 1965 and described the forming-storming-norming- performing model. His opinion is that it is necessary for all teams to work through every stage of the model, so prepare your group for the storming stage and embrace it positively.

Jane Braithwaite
MD of Designated Medical

If you need any advice, please do contact the team at Designed Medical.

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December 2022 Edition of Stay Connected


Welcome to December’s edition of Stay Connected. With Christmas upon us, we would like to wish all our clients a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you all for your loyalty this year and we look forward to working with you in 2023.

In this month’s newsletter, we are looking at Accountancy and self-assessment, breaking down how to fill in your self-assessment tax return.

Following on from that, if your tax forms are something you would rather outsource, we are looking at our top tips for choosing a new accountant.

And finally, we are delving into the world of new patients and the best practice on how to attract new patients.

Full newsletter

Best wishes,

Designated Medical Team.

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