Heart of Birmingham PCT is looking to replace 76 small practices in the area with 24 larger franchised units.
Mention was made in the PCT’s corporate franchise strategy to the role firms, particularly well-known brands such as Asda, Virgin and Tesco, could play in primary care provision.
This was widely interpreted as leaving the door open to private providers to run practices but now a PCT spokeswoman has ruled that option out saying that ‘only our local GPs will be considered. We are not looking anywhere else’.
Dr Charles Zuckerman, Birmingham LMC medical secretary, said: ‘This just shows how ill thought through these plans were in the first place and how they will not even get through the first stage.
‘The majority of GPs in the heart of Birmingham area are PMS practices and the PCT can alter that contract but a franchise system can only work if GPs form some kind of corporate body or private providers come in.
‘If GPs don’t want to do that and they are not interested in private providers then I’m not sure how this can work.’
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