20 August 2018

Primary sees GP recruitment hit new highs

General Practice KnowCents

Revenue at Primary Health Care’s Medical Centres division edged down again in the latest financial year, dropping 1.4% to $313.4 million, but GP recruitment hit a new high, the company said.

Primary said earnings at its 52 medical centres were suppressed by the ongoing transition of GPs to “capital-light contract models” that provide them with more flexible working conditions and a higher share of billing revenue.

“Importantly, Primary recruited a record 159 new GPs this year and laid the foundations for strong recruitment in the future,” the company said today, announcing its 2018 earnings results.

CEO Dr Malcolm Parmenter said the company’s “reset program” aimed at ensuring quality GPs were practising in its clinics to deliver the right culture and a platform for long-term growth.

GP gross billings rose 2.2% to $425.2 million, and both dental and IVF revenue were up.

The division’s pre-tax earnings fell to $35.8 million with approximately half of this decline attributed to the opening of new medical centres.

“Primary Health Care is committed to delivering excellence in consumer-centred healthcare and to maximising value creation for its shareholders by providing a quality offering in frontline care,” Dr Parmenter said.

“Critical to achieving this, we are reformulating our value proposition to consumers and healthcare professionals alike.”

A comprehensive program under Project Leapfrog aimed to deliver growth by recruiting significantly more healthcare professionals, increasing capacity, improving efficiency, and modernising the centres, he said.

Improved results in pathology and imaging in 2018 partially offset the decline at medical centres.

That group reported net profit of $8.9 million on revenues of $1,740 million.

Primary’s Health & Co subsidiary, which operates private partnerships with established practices, expanded its network to 11 clinics in the year.

“Primary will continue to drive diversification of its revenue, targeting non-MBS services including expansion of its day surgery platform, specialty Pathology services and national contracts with government and major partners,” Dr Parmenter said.