Articles and Case Studies

A brief guide to setting up in private practice

01 Jun 2022

Karen Stephens 110x137

by Ms Karen Stephens

Practice setup

Here’s a brief checklist outlining the main things you may need to consider before setting up your private practice.

Business planning

Business structure

Financing and insurances*

Location – demographics, nearby colleagues or referrers, nearby competitors, patient/staff access, disability access, optimal layout, buy or lease

Equipment and supplies

Accreditations and licensing

IT system and support – software, hardware, phones, backup, telehealth, cybersecurity

Marketing and advertising, including websites and social media

Advice from a business adviser, accountant, financial adviser, lawyer and/or practice manager, preferably with experience in the medical field.


Business – government guides

See the Starting a business checklist from which has detailed information on key steps and a downloadable checklist.

Each state or territory has specific information on starting a business:










Private practice – College guides


Starting a medical practice

Becoming an owner of a general practice


Preparing for private practice (course, guide and checklist)


A guide to private psychiatric practice


Patient information systems and processes

Medical records

Appointment system

Follow-up of tests and referrals

New patient registration

Telehealth Consent forms

Complaints handling


Clinical procedures

Infection control

Medication storage

Emergency equipment



Medicare billing requires a location-specific provider number — apply via Services Australia or PRODA/HPOS account

Compliance with item descriptors and explanatory notes in the MBS

Invoicing and records for tax purposes

Informing patients about costs upfront – see the AMA’s Informed financial consent



Clinical and non-clinical staff:

  • Recruitment, screening (e.g., Working with Children checks), employment contracts and position descriptions
  • Training and performance management
  • Superannuation and taxation
  • Clinical supervision


Obligations as an employer:



By law a medical practice must have a privacy policy:

If using cloud backup or storage, it’s easiest to meet Australian privacy law requirements if the server is in Australia

Confidentiality agreements for staff — see:



Advertising, including a website or social media presence, must comply with Ahpra’s Guidelines for advertising aregulated health service

Advertising therapeutic goods or medicines must comply with the TGA’s advertising regulations

Direct marketing to patients requires their specific consent (under privacy law; APP7)

*MDA National offers practice indemnity policies to cover claims against the practice or an employee of the practice, for matters such as privacy breaches, loss of documents, intellectual property disputes and more.

Subscribe to MDA National’s biannual Member publication, Defence Update, for the latest medico-legal updates, articles and case studies here.

Communication with Patients, Confidentiality and Privacy, Employment Essentials, Medical Records and Reports, Practice Management, Regulation and Legislation, Technology, Anaesthesia, Dermatology, General Practice, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Practice Manager Or Owner, Psychiatry, Sports Medicine, Surgery, Physician, Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology, Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Paediatrics, Independent Medical Assessor - IME, Gastroenterology


My Career Journey with Dr Nick Coatsworth

Dr Nick Coatsworth is an expert in health policy, public administration and a practising infectious diseases physician. He held a national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Australia, becoming one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic. Nick engaged the Australian community through a variety of media platforms most notably as the spearhead of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Dr Micheal Gannon, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, sits down with Dr Nick Coatsworth to discuss Nick's medical career journey, and what insights and advice he has for junior doctors. MDA National would like to acknowledge the contributions of MDA National staff, Members, friends and colleagues in the production of the podcast and note that this work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under applicable copyright law, you may not reproduce the content of this podcast without the permission of MDA National. This podcast contains generic information only, is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and doesn’t account for requirements of any particular individual. The content may contain opinions which are not necessarily those of MDA National. We recommend that you always contact your indemnity provider when you require specific advice in relation to your insurance policy or medico-legal matters. MDA National Members need to contact us for specific medico-legal advice on freecall 1800 011 255 or email We may also refer you to other professional services.


09 Jun 2022

Career complications and contending with uncertainty

Among the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for junior doctors is how to respond to medical training impacts and career uncertainty. In this podcast, Dr Caroline Elton (a psychologist who specialises in helping doctors)and Dr Benjamin Veness (a Psychiatry registrar) share advice for coping with medical training and career delays, disruptions and unknowns.


10 Aug 2020