Birmingham franchise architect joins premises firm

The architect of Birmingham's controversial franchising plan has joined the healthcare company involved in building the scheme.

Sarb Basi was Heart of Birmingham PCT's director of service development until last week. He begins work for Prime PLC, the company involved in building 24 GP practices as part of his franchising scheme, next month.

Prime part-owns BaS Solutions, a LIFT company commissioned six years ago to create new health centres by 2010. It needed GPs to move from their existing practices.

Birmingham LMC secretary Dr Charles Zuckerman said that the facts spoke for themselves: 'The author of this policy, to get GPs into the new premises, is now working for the company that stands to make money from building the premises.'

The franchise plan, revealed in November 2007 proposed that all 76 GP practices in the area be replaced by 24 standardised, franchised health centres.

Dr Zuckerman said the PCT has threatened to declare practices unfit for purpose or to remove funding if GPs did not sign up to the scheme.

A Heart of Birmingham PCT spokeswoman said there was no connection between Mr Basi's new job and his work on the franchise strategy. Mr Basi was unavailable for comment.

A Prime spokeswoman denied there was any conflict of interest.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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