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Private Practice work -Ten Advantages and Disadvantages

This blog is for Occupational Therapists who might be considering leaping into the world of running their own OT practice. It will discuss the pros and cons of working independently compared with being employed by the NHS (or private healthcare)

I just attended the COTSS-IP Conference 2013 (College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section for Occupational Therapists in Independent Practice).

It was a stimulating 2 days filled with seminars and great opportunities for Occupational Therapists (OTs) in a range of different sectors to meet, share and network. There were OTs working privately and many seeking or considering making the leap.


Here are excerpts from advantages and disadvantages raised by the conference attendees (all OTs – ranging from those who are either new to independent practice or considering it – to those more established and running highly successful and large businesses):

Advantages Of Independent Practice
Greater self-direction
Flexibility to work as you see fit
Control and empowerment

You can charge what your service is worth

Creative freedom
Your experience is valued
You can see a piece of work through to completion
You can work as a ‘Proper OT’ – working holistically through the OT process

Disadvantages of Independent Practice
It can be ‘feast or famine’ – sometimes you may not get the work through and at other times you may be too busy
No recompense if you are ill (compared with employed work when you get sick leave)
You need to sort out your own tax.
You may have greater struggle with work/home life & boundaries
You may struggle with when / how to say ‘no’
Competition from other independent practitioners
You will need to organize and pay for own CPD, Training, and Advice
Independent work can be lonely. It does NOT have to be this way; read this blog about ways to overcome this and read about networking.

So, are you for independent practice – or against? Which gets your vote?


Please note, this list is not exhaustive. Certainly independent work is hard work (as is employed work, it has to be said), however you cannot put a price on the sense of self-direction and freedom independent practice can bring. Of course the decision to leap is dependent on one’s own circumstances.

Help is out there!
If you are seeking to start your own (OT) business, tap into business advice at your local business enterprise centre, library, or Google local business support. Support is out there, waiting for you to come and take advantage of it.

If I can be of further help, then please get in touch. I provide workshops and 1-1 help for OTs, HCPs and people new to business who seek to work optimally and feel that sense of work satisfaction at the end of each working day.

Have a burning addition to make to the lists above?- then SHARE THEM here!

Useful OT websites:

COTSS-IP website:



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