General practice tool kit

Closing, relocating, merging and selling your practice

Business considerations

Last revised: 24 Oct 2019

Changes in circumstances

This section covers changes in circumstances such as closing your practice permanently, selling and continuing to work elsewhere, or re-locating.
 

When you make a change to your practice’s circumstances, notify relevant authorities and organisations. Who you need to notify, and what information you need to provide, will depend on whether you are closing the practice permanently, selling and continuing to work elsewhere, or re-locating.

Each authority and organisation will be able to tell you what information they need, based on your individual circumstances.

The following table lists some of the authorities and organisations (arranged alphabetically) you may need to contact, and the nature of the service they provide, or notification they require.

 

Organisation

Considerations

Accreditation agency
  • Accreditation status of new practice/premise
Australia Post
  • Mail redirection
Australian Business Register
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA)
  • Registration
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • Cancel company or business name
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • Lodgement and payment of obligations
  • PAYG & GST obligations
  • Record-keeping requirements
Financial institutions
  • Business accounts
Local council
  • Business permit
Local Primary Health Network (PHN)
  • Notify if closing
Medicare
  • Provider number
  • Prescriber number
  • Health Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) registration
  • Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) registration
  • Provider Digital Access (PRODA) registration
National Health Services Directory
  • Practice listing
RACGP
  • Change of practice details
State or territory health department
  • Notify if closing

If you are closing, selling or re-locating, you may need to arrange for safe and appropriate disposal of materials and equipment.

Materials and equipment that may need to be disposed of include:

  • Pharmaceuticals - Schedule 4 and 8 pharmaceuticals must be disposed of as per state legislation. Other pharmaceuticals can be returned to any community pharmacy.
  • Prescription pads - If these are no longer required, securely shred unused ones to avoid fraudulent use.
  • Medical stock – You may be able to be sell these. If not, return them to the original supplier.
  • Equipment and furniture – consider selling or donating any that you no longer need.
  • E-waste (such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, printers, photocopiers and USBs) - dispose of them securely and appropriately, making sure that information is not just deleted but removed from devices. You may need to engage the services of a provider that specialises in removal and destruction of sensitive and commercial information.

If you are selling or merging your practice, many of these will form part of your practice’s inventory that is included with the sale or merger. Others may need to be disposed of.

Regardless of the type of organisational change, identify any updates you need to make to your social media accounts and website, including your online booking system. For example, you might need to update:

  • the practice’s name, address, contact details
  • owner and staff details (including removing any that are no longer working at the practice, and adding new ones)
  • opening days and hours
  • services.

If you are closing the practice, be very clear that the business is closing, and include its final day of operation. At a suitable date, remove the practice’s online presence altogether. If your practice is listed in any online directories, notify them of the change.

Notify all insurance providers of the change to the practice. For example, insurers of your workers compensation, public liability, building and contents, and medical indemnity.

Run off insurance

Run off insurance is a form of professional indemnity insurance that covers your practice’s historic liabilities after it ceases to trade. Any claims made under a run-off insurance policy relate to events that occurred before you ceased operating.

The Australian Government’s Run-Off Cover Scheme (ROCS) provides secure insurance for doctors who have left private practice. You may decide to take out run-off cover to protect you and the practice against future claims.

Seek advice from your Medical Defence Organisation about what you may need, based on your individual circumstances.

You must retain business records through and beyond any changes to the practice.

The specific records you must keep and the required period of retention depends on the organisation stipulating the requirement, and may change over time.

Seek professional advice, and contact the following organisations for information and advice about their record-keeping requirements.

Organisation

Type of records

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) Financial records
Fair Work Ombudsman Employee records
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Income, expenses and tax returns
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