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Practice calendar: April

As you enter a new financial year, where can you look for new sources of income? Our expert advises.

As you enter a new financial year, where can you look for new sources of income? Our expert advises.

The problem

With the new GP contract deal for 2011/12 offering no extra money for GPs, now is the ideal time to explore ideas for generating additional income for your practice. You have a couple of spare rooms currently used for storage – could they be put to better use?

Expert advice

It is always worth reviewing the current layout of practice premises, as with some simple reorganisation, existing space can be better utilised and some may be freed up which can be leased to another service provider.

Where practices have surplus space, such as a spare storage or treatment room, they may wish to explore the possibility of letting it out to a complementary service such as a physiotherapist, dentist, optician, chiropodist or counsellor. This is a good option to explore to boost practice income as the rental income generated normally exceeds the level of reimbursement received from the PCT for that space.

In practices that don't have any surplus internal space, an extension can be considered if there is spare external space or land that can be developed. An initial feasibility study will need to be undertaken and a business case prepared for the scheme to be granted approval from the PCT, and if any external finance is required. If the practice wishes to have the additional space reimbursed by the PCT, they will need to seek approval before any work on the project commences, even if they are funding the construction work themselves.

If an extension is considered, professional advice should be sought from the very beginning of the process as they will be able to ensure that the greatest financial benefit is received from the investment. Additional areas such as Capital Allowances can be looked at, as certain assets items which qualify as Plant and Machinery can be used to claim tax relief.

Finally, to help practices budget, they may want to consider having a Planned Maintenance Programme which will identify the expected expenditure required on the premises during a given period. A regular programme of maintenance is planned on the premises which will help reduce the risk of any unexpected breakdowns or breakages which have not been budgeted for.

Chris Johnson is a director at GP Surveyors, www.gpsurveyors.co.uk

Practice calendar

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