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It’s not unusual to call upon the bank for finance when starting a new practice or buying equipment. But Perth-based obstetrician and gynaecologist couple Dr C. Soundaram and Dr Padma Jatoth found themselves in the unusual situation of having to acquire the list of patients too.
Just as they were starting their own private practice, Perth Womens Health, a nearby clinic was offering patients on their books for takeover.
“They had 150 patients on their books,” recalls Dr Soundaram. BOQ Specialist was helpful in financing the takeover of the patients under the new practice and as a result, the patients could continue their continuity of care.
If negotiations for buying a patient list weren’t tricky enough, Dr Soundaram found it even more so, having only worked in the public hospital system since arriving in Australia in 2015 and only just starting to make his way in private practice.
Both he and Dr Jatoth had grown up and trained in India. “I finished my full graduate training in New Delhi and then went to London for further training,” he says. “I finished the training at the University College London Hospital and became an obstetrician and a laparoscopic surgeon. Then I explored where to go next, and Perth came calling.”
Dr Jatoth had trained with him and had followed the same professional path. Sometime during that busy period of training and travelling, they married and had two sons. “That's what happens when you spend 24 hours a day in the hospital,” Dr Soundaram laughs. “You don't get to meet anyone else outside, and then things happen.”
The dream, as is often the case with young OB-GYNs in love, was to one day start their own private practice. “That was the ideal dream, but just like most things in life it doesn't happen until the right time comes,” says Dr Soundaram.
One of the initial challenges faced by Dr Soundaram and Dr Jatoth was finding appropriate rooms. They were wary of overextending themselves with borrowing, especially with the high cost of commercial properties. But they also wanted to find something close to a hospital they were practising in.
“For us as obstetricians, we need to make sure we are close to the nearest help, especially when we are doing high-risk obstetrics,” he says. “So, we needed a location where I have anaesthetic backup, ICU, and a blood bank.”
“We also needed to be closer to the birth suite in case we were called for an emergency. That's the reason why, instead of a standalone unit, we realised it had to be within a hospital like St John of God.”
Their initial plan was to check with their own bank, and to get a loan, but after talking to a friend—a dentist who had recently started his own clinic—they decided instead to approach BOQ Specialist. “My friend said, ‘You don't have to do anything, just go to BOQ Specialist. They will be quite helpful’. Which was good advice.
“Their appeal for me was that they know what our professional lives are like. They deal with doctors everyday and they know exactly what we want, particularly if you’re a specialist. They know what obstetrics and gynaecology are and the things we're looking for.”
“I remember I first met Dr Soundaram during his break at Fiona Stanley Hospital,” says BOQ Specialist’s Michael LeSouef. “He had a very brief time that he could see us, so I met him in the cafeteria and had our initial chat there. He had a vision of establishing a new private practice with his wife, Padma. Like most specialists, being time-poor meant he needed a finance partner that would make the process as quick and easy as possible for him.”
Dr Soundaram and Dr Jatoth purchased the commercial property in April last year, then the opportunity arose to purchase the patient list from the other practice; “I rang Michael at BOQ Specialist and said, ‘Can you arrange for a loan for that?’ He said, ‘Yes, don't worry. We will be able to cover that because we work from the numbers, so it makes sense. Why let that opportunity go?’”
Says Michael; “I remember there was a really tight timeframe to settlement for the property. I went to see them at South Perth Hospital at 9.30pm, with the cleaners vacuuming around us, going through the paperwork and signing it.”
Just before doing this interview, Dr Soundaram finished delivering the 150th patient from that list. Their private practice is getting busier than they initially expected. Seems like they were in the right place at the right time, after all.
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