Starting a private practice can be overwhelming to say the least, with financial, legal and HPCSA compliance factors to consider. Among the many critical decisions that must be made early on, naming your healthcare practice holds significant importance. When it comes to this, there seems to be a blend of perspectives as to what is allowed and what is not.
This post breaks down everything you need to know about naming a healthcare practice in South Africa, so let's get into it.
HPCSA Guidelines on Naming Your Healthcare Practice
The HPCSA states:
"A practitioner shall use his or her own name or the name of a registered practitioner or practitioners with whom he or she is in partnership or with whom he or she practice's as a juristic person, as a name for his or her private practice."
This means that when you register your practice with the HPCSA you will have to use your name, however there are a few more guidelines for the name you choose to register.
It must include your name but it doesn't have to be your full name
It doesn't have to include your profession BUT if it does you cannot use a shortened or abbreviated version
In addition when including your profession it must be your professional registration category and not your profession, this is so you are not representing your practice as the entire profession
Smith Occupational Therapist
S. Smith Occupational Therapist
Sarah Smith OT
S. Smith Occupational Therapy
This practice registered name must be present in all the financial, legal or clinical spaces of your business, such as your letterheads, invoices, scripts and any formal documents.
Now for the loophole...
Your 'Trading As' name...
For those of you who are interested in having a more creative name for your practice, fear not! There is a way you can achieve this.
Your 'Trading As' name is the brand name you choose to represent you practice in the non-clinical or HPCSA regulated spaces mentioned previously. This can include your social media, marketing efforts, signage of the buildings you work in etc.
It's important to remember that although you aren't legally required to register your trading as name with CIPC, it is recommended. Failing to trademark your brand name leaves it vulnerable to appropriation by others, who could claim your brand efforts and name as their own.
One of the best ways to fully represent your practice and brand name together could be something like, THE BOLD SPACE, Amy Reynolds Psychologist. Both of these names could be present in your marketing efforts but only Amy Reynolds Psychologist would show up in your financial and legal documents.
While this post provides a degree of clarity on the topic, it is important to conduct further research to ensure a well-informed decision. Ultimately, naming your practice affords a certain level of flexibility, allowing you to craft a distinct identity.
If you are looking for someone to work with you on starting your private practice then get in touch and let's see how we can work together!