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How to set up an Occupational Therapy Private Practice in the United Kingdom – Step 2

This is a follow on blog from our ‘Step 1‘ blog which we recommend reading first. It also links to the ‘Step 3‘ blog which is out on Nov 10th.

TOPIC:

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

Also just for your information, we aren’t tech savvy enough to have set up affiliate links for this stuff just yet, so this is literally what we use.

look hear
It’s not hard to make it easy

WHAT:

Setting up a private practice can really take as much or as little work as you would like it to. There are of course key things that need to be in place, but a lot of the other stuff is really up to you. You can read Step 1 here, and Step 3 here, which outlines everything in more detail.

This information is for those who are already HCPC registered professionals with the relevant experience and expertise who are considering becoming independent providers. The information below is not suitable for non-qualified professionals.

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have already explained the must haves in our previous posts 1 and the next one 3, so now we are up to………

You are thinking of taking on a few private clients, maybe you work part time or want to eventually have a full-time private practice income. You want to know what to expect, what you need to actually do, and how much it is all going to cost…. where do you start.

Well; we have done it all (both in the UK and Australia!) so let us give you our tips and advice to help inform your decision about whether you want to proceed and become an independent provider!

HOW:

Please read through the whole blog posts (here and here) before you rush off and start registering for things; there is a lot to consider, which we have tried to outline for you!

We have talked through the ‘must haves‘ and now we are up to the……….

The ‘should haves’:

These are things you should have or should be getting to start your private practice!

  1. Equipment to do the job and therapy that you want to do. For example working with kids, do you have the right toys, books, scissors, markers, therapy balls or whatever else you may need? If not, start collecting or hitting the op shops (charity shops) to start building your collection (be sure to have an infection policy or toy cleaning policy!)
  2. Location, how and where are you going to deliver this intervention or assessment? In clients homes (hello Lone Worker Policy or Plan, and Lone Worker Risk Assessments before you get there e.g. is there a dog I can expect at the home? Who else will be there at the time of the assessment?)
  3. Policies and procedures – how are you going to protect yourself and consider things before they become a problem. I would suggest having at least: Terms and Conditions (expanded below), Privacy, Consent to Treat, Consent to Communication e.g. email/ txt, Lone Working (or a plan with a partner of how long the appointment is and that you check in/out with).
  4. Brand name; what are you called? This may the same or slight variation of your company name that you registered (for example we are mainly called Look Hear, but are registered as Look Hear Global). This is what you would call your facebook page or instagram. You may also want to consider here things like font, colours and images (again you can go as big or small as you like here), this is your ‘brand’.
  5. Social Medias – at least have one, so people can find you! How much effort you put into this is completely up to you. Do think carefully about what sorts of things you want to share/not share on your page and what you want to say about your companies beliefs/ values.
  6. Mission statement/ values – regardless if you share them with others. We found they are really helpful to think about what we want to stand for (or not) and what kind of consumers/ providers/ colleagues we want to be. You can have a look at our mission statement here.
  7. Website, again this can be as well as social media pages or instead of; we know people who are just as successful with either or both. Lots of business pages will say to have ALL THE SOCIAL medias and websites and SEO etc…. all of that is really important if you want to be the next big thing. If you just want to start small and build up, pick one thing that is achievable for you to manage and start there.
  8. Supervision; we cannot recommend this enough. We are supervised by the WONDERFUL OT 360, and we all know the importance of supervision generally but when you are setting up or thinking about your options and solo working, it is very much a should (and almost a must have).
  9. Terms and conditions/ consent for treatment forms/ privacy policy; these can be as long or as short as you need them to be. They need to cover things like; how are you going to store and manage patient information, how are you going to ensure things are secure, are you using other apps for therapy (we use TheraTrak, and its on our consent form), are patients happy for you to email them (consent form for this), what happens if patients haven’t paid for services etc. Our terms and conditions and privacy policy are here, though they are slightly different for patient care as they are more for our website. Also if you have a website, make sure you have a privacy policy and all your rights reserved!

Also just a note here about what we use for invoicing and expenses; as mentioned we wanted to be able to send branded PDF invoices to our families, so we found Wave, which we use (there are paid and free versions).

KEY TIPS:

Don’t go into this lightly. It is incredibly rewarding but is a lot of work as well.

Think about all the elements and costings before starting, there will be hidden costs along the way so be ready for those.

If you don’t want to set up by yourself, talk to other providers in your area to see if they want to take a contractor on (we are starting to look into this more seriously now), as it might be a worth while conversation.

Think about what you are willing to do for free, there will be times that you want to just help, however there has to be (for your own wellbeing) a limit to that. Working for yourself you will need to decide this ideally before you will need to think about it. An example of this is that we will do a free phone call with families before starting working with them to discuss their concerns, however this is capped at a maximum of 1 hour.

There are lots of facebook groups that are worth being a part of, which have lots of great ideas and thoughts ‘Occupational Therapy Entrepreneurs’ is a great one, with others like ‘OT in Private Practice’. Search and see what is the best for you.

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

Take a look at the OT Hub, which as loads of great information. There are also lots of podcasts available around setting up your own practice too.

We also love the ‘Dare to Lead‘ book by Brent Brown; not related specifically to setting up but is a great book about leadership and refer back to.

We will happily provide supervision to those taking these steps, having been through them ourselves. You can find our pricing here.

Is the time now for you? Let us know and comment below if we have missed anything!!

Comments

comments

Tara is a Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist, currently based in Reading, United Kingdom. She has extensive experience working with children who have individual, additional and complex needs. She has a detailed understanding of early intervention, trans-disciplinary working, autism and sensory processing, as well as the importance of meaningful occupation. She enjoys working in a multi disciplinary team and would like to complete a Masters in Paediatrics in the future.

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