So, you have read the headline and probably wondering; ‘why is Faheem not in favour of others setting up a clinic? I mean, doesn’t he run his private clinic and teach how to set one up?’
Well, hear me out, I know it sounds like double standards, but my point is DO NOT set up a clinic unless you have the vision to set up a GREAT clinic. Think about it, anyone can set up good service, anyone can run a good business, but very few can set up a great clinic and offer a great service that contributes to building a world where people are the best versions of themselves and fulfilled by what they do.
This article will focus on the rationale for setting up a clinic, with subsequent articles covering the following:
- clinic layout and environment.
- clinical governance, CQC, and GPHC registration
- marketing and running a successful clinic.
The Healthcare business, due to its nature, is still very robust. It is a sector that is continually financed and invested in, despite recessions. This current cycle of recession, caused by a healthcare crisis and global pandemic, means investment in the healthcare sector is booming. Our local communities need a diagnosis, management, and treatment of their ailments more than ever. However, with the current shortage of doctors and nurses within the UK, the number of trusts able to meet the government targets for emergency department treatment within four hours, cancer care, and elective lists has fallen over recent years. The continued funding squeeze, an ageing population with diseases and a rise in non-communicable diseases, and obesity have increased pressure on the healthcare system. Trusts throughout the country have found it challenging to employ doctors of all grades.
Furthermore, general practice, particularly in rural locations, finds it difficult to fill posts. Data shows the UK has fewer doctors per head of population than most countries in Europe. According to the figures, the UK has 2.8 doctors for every 1000 people, which puts it well below the European Union (EU) average (3.4/1000), with only four countries in Europe having lower numbers per capita (Ireland, Slovenia, Romania, and Poland).
As a result of the above workforce crisis, the NHS workforce strategy has turned to upskilling other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and allied health professionals and introducing new roles such as non-medical prescriber’s, nursing associates, and physician associates to plug GP shortfall.
A flawed solution
The solution suggested by the NHS to up-skill other healthcare professionals has its problems. There is a growing gap between patient needs and the workforce’s skills and knowledge required to care for them. Findings from a survey conducted by the University of Birmingham in 2015 showed, that at the time, there were 53000 nurses and 3800 pharmacists registered as prescribers. Just 14% of nurse independent prescribers and 29% of pharmacist independent prescribers were using their qualifications. Reasons cited for the low number of prescribers utilizing their qualification varied from lack of support to lack of mentoring and appropriate training. This is further supported by a survey conducted by the General Pharmaceutical Council, in 2016.
In November 2020, out of approximately 24 million general practice consultations in England, more than 50% were not seen on the same day. Furthermore, NHS 4 hour A&E waiting times have not been met over the last four years. In 2018/19, 88% of patients spent four hours or less in A&E, which is significantly below the 95% target that has been set.
All the above mentioned are yet further examples of the NHS’s struggles and issues surrounding access to healthcare in the UK. As a result, hundreds of non-NHS organizations have been set up in the last decade providing services under the NHS and privately such as; Babylon, Push doctor, Medicspot, Doctaly, Livi, Healthcare at home, Virgin care limited and many others, to help solve this problem.
This highlights an opportunity for pharmacists to invest in themselves so that they have the skills and training needed to also be a solution to this problem by developing new services part of a private/NHS-funded clinic to improve access to healthcare and support the NHS.
Learn from mistakes
The above demonstrates why you need to set up a clinic. However, setting up a great clinic, as with any new business venture, idea, or service, requires careful planning and consideration at the outset, saving time and money later on.
So, before setting up a clinic, it is worth developing a business plan which incorporates points to be mentioned in subsequent articles.
I mean, do you want to make the mistakes I made or learn from them?
I will let you decide.