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How Doctors Can Protect Their Livelihood Through Coronavirus Crisis


Mar 11, 2020


Doctors are on the frontlines of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak and they all know and have accepted the high risk of exposure.

The highly contagious coronavirus, which does not yet have an available vaccine, has already claimed the lives of health care workers across the globe, including perhaps most notably Li Wenliang. He was the doctor credited with raising the alarm about the newly discovered coronavirus and then disciplined for speaking out before he himself succumbed to the disease.

Even just one infected doctor can lead to the quarantine of dozens of other hospital staff, rendering them unable to serve for weeks on end, as happened recently at Ryde Hospital in NSW.

You’ve also accepted the risks to your own health that come along with treating patients who may be infected with the coronavirus.

Most likely you aren’t too worried if you’re in good health and still relatively young. There’s a decent chance that you can recover if you are exposed to coronavirus.

But coronavirus affects more than just physical health. It could also seriously impact your finances and ability to earn. How can you protect your livelihood and your wealth as you share in the fight against this outbreak?

Plan for the Worst

Take the time to sit down and calculate some numbers to figure out how you could be financially impacted one month, two months, six months or a year from now. Determine what factors pose a unique risk to your finances. Create a risk mitigation strategy which includes elements such as an emergency fund that can cover your family’s needs if you are unable to work for a period of time.

Stay Insured

Now is an excellent time to check up on your personal insurance coverage to make sure that it’s adequate. What does your income protection insurance policy cover? Do you need a better policy for doctors?

Do you have sufficient medical indemnity cover in the event that a patient lodges a medical negligence claim against you? As long as you have adequate cover, your profession will be protected through the outbreak.

Know Your Rights and Your Limits

There is an increased demand for and on the medical workforce in Australia due to the coronavirus outbreak. And based on the trend this is likely to increase. If you’re in a salaried position, you might be expected to work more days or longer days than you agreed to in your contract.

Remember that you cannot help coronavirus patients if you are overworked or suffering from burnout, which could impact your career long after coronavirus blows over. Don’t let an employer push you into working more than you agreed to or compel you to work in situations that expose you to unnecessary risks. Review your contract to make sure you understand your obligations.

Think of the Future

Such dire situations as the deadly coronavirus outbreak are a sobering reminder to us all of how short life can be. If you get a chance, try to find time to review your current estate planning to make sure that your will, power of attorney and Advance Care Directives are all up to date. This will ensure that your family has a little less to worry about in the event that something happens to you.

Seek advice

We’re going through some challenging times, right now. As much as you’re concerned about you and your family’s financial security, it can be hard to understand what steps you should take.

We’re here to help you make sound financial decisions both now and far beyond the coronavirus outbreak.

Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, specialists in accounting, financial planning, investment and finance, investment and business for medical professionals. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.

– Kym Nitschke

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.

Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.

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