30 April 2020

Key takeaways

  • The Government has relaxed restrictions on specialist procedures from 27 April 2020 (with a further review on 11 May 2020)
  • Pent-up patient need may lead to a surge in elective procedure demand
  • Plan a timeline to start connecting with patients, to schedule next steps in their care
  • Specialists with a mindset for responsible growth may have opportunity to expand their practices

This is Macquarie’s third COVID-19 briefing guide to help you navigate your medical practice through these challenging times.

Following the government’s announcement of a return to some elective surgeries, specialists are starting to rebook patient procedures, and focus on a return to expanded services.

Medical specialists may be cautiously optimistic about their financial futures, and the health and wellbeing of their patients.

From 27 April 2020, specialists may perform elective ‘Category 2’ (and equivalent procedures) and some ‘Category 3’ procedures.

In a press conference held on 21 April 2020, the Government estimates that “this will lead to a reopening of around 25 per cent of activity in elective surgery in our private and public hospitals”. Following the distribution of protective equipment, a favourable review by the Government on 11 May could pave the way to recommencing more broadly all surgeries and procedures.

With a limited restart of medical practices underway, and the prospect of a full return to work, specialists and day hospitals are well-positioned to provide care for their patients.

Getting back to work

With a limited restart of medical practices underway, and the prospect of a full return to work, specialists and day hospitals are well-positioned to provide care for their patients.

For many specialists, COVID-19 containment policies may have caused an unexpected, significant hit to their earnings. Many will also be concerned for patients who may have been subject to reduced levels of care during the enforced lockdown.

However, many specialists used the time away from surgical tools and face-to-face interactions to expand their use of telehealth and digital technologies for diagnostics. These are tools which may help to improve specialist and patient experience design well into the future. Many have also kept in contact with their patients remotely and may consider the easing of restrictions to reconnect and reschedule procedures.

It’s important to talk to your advisers and continue to develop your business, so that you can successfully navigate the next phase – reopening your business. Cash flow and access to recovery and growth capital may be front of mind for specialists who felt the jolt of the shutdown on their income and expenses.

Those who used the time away from patients to streamline processes and procedures, improve patient experience (including implementing new technologies), and restructure financially, may be better placed to grow in the second half of 2020 and beyond.

Is your business ready?

You spent years learning and honing your skills, caring for patients and nurturing your practice. You have led your team to adapt to this unprecedented period, and continued to engage with patients in new ways. The gradual return to elective surgery is the first step in the recovery phase.

COVID-19 has been a setback for many in the healthcare sector, but it need not define your practice or future earning potential.

Consider the following in getting ready to serve your patients once restrictions are relaxed:

Demonstrate leadership — Have confidence in your abilities, networks and people; demand is resuming for your services and it should get easier to project your income should it continue to improve over the rest of the year.

Review what you’ve learned — Reflect on what you learned and evaluate how this knowledge and experience improves your practice. For instance, if you streamlined operations or experimented in new ways of working.

Imagine a better business — Whether your operations were limited, or your business was closed during the COVID-19 lock-down, consider the type of practice you want to lead beyond 2020.

Back your own success — be bold and review your business for growth and better patient outcomes.

How can Macquarie support medical businesses?

It can be challenging to run a business at the best of times, but it’s especially stressful when you have a heightened concern about the welfare of your employees and patients, with reduced income.

Macquarie takes the time to understand your business and, together, we can help find ways to grow and prosper. Many elective procedures that were delayed as a result of COVID-19 may soon be performed and this may be an earnings opportunity for your business.

Macquarie’s healthcare banking specialists can help you meet your goals.

There are ways that Macquarie may be able to provide financial support for medical specialists beyond the Government loan repayment pause (where applicable), including specialist cashflow loans, which may be used for asset and/or income accretive purchases (e.g. business, shares, or property investment).

With Macquarie, we will work alongside you to grow your business and future success.

How can we help?

The Macquarie Healthcare team is here to help you throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with support for business customers.

To learn more, contact your Macquarie Relationship Manager, call 1800 442 370, or visit our Coronavirus Support Hub

Additional information

The information on this page has been prepared by Macquarie Business Banking, a division of Macquarie Bank Limited AFSL & Australian Credit Licence 237502 ("Macquarie") for general information purposes only, without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this general information, you must consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. The information provided is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for any accounting, tax or other professional advice, consultation or service.