Why Birmingham is first for franchises

The current model of primary care is unsustainable in the Heart of Birmingham area, according to the PCT report.

Many GPs are approaching retirement and almost 6 per cent are working beyond the retirement age of 65.

A PCT spokesman said the franchise was a way of attracting new GPs into the area.

The report says: 'It is hoped that in the Heart of Birmingham, some GPs, particularly younger members of the profession, new entrants and portfolio professionals, will see a franchise model as an attractive option, combining a degree of financial and professional independence and close association with NHS values with a corporate framework.'

PCT chief executive Dr Sandy Bradbrook said there 'were no barriers to it being used elsewhere in the UK' and said that although there was a negative reaction from Birmingham LMC, GPs had welcomed the idea.

Heart of Birmingham PCT has been no stranger to controversy. In 2005 it announced that practices scoring fewer than 750 framework points would be named and shamed as part of a 'poor-performance threshold'.

GPletters@haymarket.com

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