The average GP bills $350,000 a year: Is it enough?

(First published in Australian Doctor Magazine – June 2022)

As COVID-19 and its consequences continue to put heavy financial and workload pressure on general practice, now more than ever, it is important to make sure your practice is robust, with money being invested in the right tools to enable growth.

So where as a practice owner do you start?

I like to use a term I call the Three Rs of business success: Reflect, Reassess and Redirect.

Most businesses are 'Reflecting' on their performance in some way or another given the credit crunch, but this can be done a lot sooner than your annual visit to your accountant.

Regularly reflecting on your financials is not just looking at your profit and loss statement, but analysing your reports monthly, quarterly and annually to look for trends and patterns in the practice.

The other report you can use to reflect on performance is to benchmark your practice. Most practice owners will think of benchmarking and then immediately consider if medical supplies or electricity costs are too high.

This may be the case, but changes to these costs will have a relatively small impact on profit.

It would be a better use of the owner’s time to change some bigger-impact items. These include:

  • The average fees of the GP
  • The service fee percentage charged by the doctors
  • Nurses and admin staff support levels
  • And other income sources

In my company's most recent GP benchmark report we found the business acumen of practices was highlighted as most practices adapted quickly with COVID-19.

But it is also true that others struggled.

While average billings dropped, we also saw administrative costs among the practices we surveyed go down on previous years (presumably due to uptake in technology).

But are the doctors at your practice billing above the average? We have found the average for a FTE GP to be around $355,000 per year with 67% of that being done through level B consultations.


 Survey average

Top 20%

Billings FTE GP



Level B 



Level D 



Are your wage costs above or below the average?

We’ve found the salaries of nurse and admin staff make up around 19% of billings.

The average billings of those more finically successful practices (in the top 20%) is coming in at around $470,000 and the average nurse and administrative costs are down to 13% on billings.

Is your practice one of the top performing practices?

The reflection on what has happened in the past two years will help you make informed 'up-to-date' decisions and be able to 'Reassess' your practice.

This is not simply looking for the areas that are giving you the best returns now, but also reviewing the trends to determine what will give you the best returns in the future.

Technology and legislation are big impactors in most businesses and these are anything but static.

And this is not just about uptake of telehealth consults. Your business needs to change with technology and other economic conditions to keep ahead.

What changes will affect your business? If you are aware of changes, have you reassessed your offering and can you adapt quickly enough?

The next step is to ensure you are making decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.

These decisions have to be well thought through and discussed with your board of advice. A board of advice is not just limited to listed public companies, even small businesses have boards of advice.

They may not be called that, but they will normally include other stakeholders, accountants and other advisers.

It can be as simple as sitting down and running your ideas past them to get a fresh perspective; to ensure your ideas and conclusions have been subject to critical evaluation.

Once you have reached the decision to 'Redirect' some of your services, then you will have comfort in knowing that you are acting on the latest information and with the help of informed advisers.

Your decisions may not always be the right decisions of course. Business is hard and sometimes unpredictable — COVID-19, war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and the spectre of inflation.

But you should have further comfort in knowing that you will be running this process regularly and if the decisions made are not working the way you thought they would, you will be aware of this in a timely manner and be able to Reflect, Reassess and Redirect to keep pace with this ever changing and fast-paced world.

If you have any questions regarding the above, contact Director of Business Services and Taxation Brendan Campbell at Alternatively, we have Specialist Health Sector Advisers in each of our offices.  If you would like to speak to one in your location, call 1300 795 515.

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