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Sunday 19 November 2017
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Topic: Ask The Expert

March 17, 2017
Keith Taylor explains how a practice manager can ensure that taking on a new GP partner is simple and easy for the whole team.

Keith Taylor explains how a practice manager can ensure that taking on a new GP partner is simple and easy for the whole team

New partners in a GP practice will be investing substantial time, money and effort in creating a potentially lifelong relationship. But introducing a new partner can be a hectic time for practices as they juggle administration and try to maintain patient continuity. As a practice manager, how can you help to make the transition seamless?

Managing accounts

March 10, 2017
The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that practices will be allowed to conscientiously object to taking part in the firearm licensing process in its updated guidelines.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that practices will be allowed to conscientiously object to taking part in the firearm licensing process in its updated guidelines.

Practices have been charged with ensuring that firearm license holders are fit to carry arms since April 2016, which involves GP appointments, fee processing and administrative work.

March 30, 2012

The first point to make is that if a practice only makes exempt supplies (of medical services) it is not permitted to register for VAT. Therefore we must look at the types of supplies that a practice may make that are taxable (at the standard or zero rate). If any of these supplies are made it is possible to VAT register regardless of the value of them. This is called a voluntary registration and provides the practice with the ability to reclaim, at least some, input tax.

March 28, 2012

March 26, 2012

March 21, 2012

Question in full:

We currently manage our monthly accounts using GP Iris and find this manages finances on a day to day basis perfectly well. The problem we have is the difference in reporting between the cashbook accounting Iris produces and the profit and loss reporting offered by our accountants. Is the answer to change to QuicKbooks or Sage, which we have never used, or is there something else we can do?

March 16, 2012

March 12, 2012

February 27, 2012

A: Primarily you should be looking for an accountant who has experience of and understands the medical profession. The medical sector is a highly specialised area with intricate tax, accounts and pension arrangements requiring full mastery.

December 8, 2011


Commercial and personal considerations of whether you need to, wish to or can afford to borrow money should always outweigh the tax considerations. The rates of return on investing cash are, unless you can find a magic swan, unlikely to be greater than the rates of borrowing, but if you have a personal aversion to debt and already have the private funds available, then taking out a business loan solely for tax relief purposes may not be the right decision for you.

November 30, 2011

Question in full:

We have been approached by a local pharmacist seeking to relocate to our practice who has offered to contribute to a proportion of the costs of construction but has not offered to pay any rent or services contribution other than utility bills. Is this a good idea for the practice to pursue?


November 22, 2011

Question in full:

In October the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) revealed it was making changes to its indemnity scheme from January 2012. Our medical defence organisation (MDO) covers our healthcare assistants and practice nurses.

November 21, 2011

Question in full:

Like many practice managers, I am not payroll-trained – please could you provide information on national insurance, small business levels and when you exceed these – for example, the £45,000 NI target for SMP compensation payments and other items of this nature. I know of practices that have been caught out with these things, and it would be useful to know in advance so you can check before being contacted by the tax man.

November 18, 2011

Question in full:

We run a thriving travel clinic at the surgery. Recently we noticed that more patients want to pay by credit or debit card and not by cheque, as in the past, but we do not have the facility to take these payments like a retailer. What are the costs involved and is there a minimum level of transactions each month?


November 17, 2011

Question in full:

We are not happy with our current accountants who have made a few errors over the past few years – how would you go about finding a new accountant that you could be sure of?


November 16, 2011

Question in full:

We are participating in the current prescribing and commissioning QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) incentives but are worried that this could appear as taking a financial benefit to withhold patient care – is this right?


November 15, 2011

Question in full:

I would be grateful if you could advise me as to the best way of maximising my tax return on purchasing or leasing a car for my job. I am a GP partner with frequent home visits and I work in out of hours services as a locum as well.


November 15, 2011

Question in full:

I have a few properties which give me some net income, and I wonder what is the best way of running that as part of my business to maximise my tax return?

A: The tax and vat position on rental properties can be complex and the possible taxes inter-relate. I would suggest in the first instance you discuss this with your accountant.

November 8, 2011

Question in full:

We wish to extend our medical centre but have three listed trees behind our existing building. Is there anything we can do to enable us to be able to develop on the affected land?

Answer in full:

October 6, 2011

Bank charges should be reviewed at least annually with your Relationship Manager to ensure you are operating in the most cost-effective way. As a general rule, automated transactions are the most efficient way to operate. Avoid paying in or taking out cash from your business account if you can. Utilise online banking wherever possible for ease of use and great value.

September 8, 2011

Q: What is the best option for partners: to own their own premises or to lease the premises?

A: An interesting question and one to which the answer will vary depending upon the needs and aspirations of the partners, both at the present time and taking a longer-term view. Historically, in this country there has been a tendency to want to own property but the recent recession and difficulties in securing debt finance had led many to consider leasing property, generally from specialist investor/developers.

September 3, 2011

Question in full:

Every year our insurance premium seems to increase, regardless of whether we have made any claims. What can I do to keep our premiums at the lowest level but still making sure we are adequately insured?

A: Insurers/brokers all have different methods of running insurance products – some putting in inflationary increases every year to keep up with the costs of claims – but you might say, "Why am I paying that increase if I haven't claimed?"

August 25, 2011

Our insurers have asked what sum we would like the buildings to be insured for. How do I calculate the cost of rebuilding the practice?

A: My advice on this would be to employ a chartered surveyor to give you an accurate reinstatement cost for your practice. You can base it upon market value, but there are many other aspects to consider when putting in a figure, such as allowances for demolition and site clearance, external works, fees and inflation over the rebuild period.