Private firms 'play no part in practice franchise plan'

A PCT has ruled out private-sector involvement in its controversial plans to group GP services into a number of 'franchises'.

Heart of Birmingham PCT is looking to replace 76 small prac-tices in the area with 24 larger franchised units (GP, 16 November).

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 interpreted as leaving it 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 really were.

'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.'

Birmingham LMC is meeting Heart of Birmingham PCT's chief executive Dr Sandy Bradbrook this week to discuss the franchise plan further.

LMC chief executive Dr Robert Morley said that a key message it will convey is that 'GPs will not be bullied into something that is to the detriment of patient care. We will also tell the PCT that without GP support this cannot happen'.

Options for GPs in the area could be for PMS GPs to switch to GMS, 'which would mean a drop in income but could be a better option,' Dr Morley said.

It had been reported in the media that no private providers were interested in running practices in the area but Care UK has confirmed its interest.

Comment below and tell us what you think 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Person signing a document

Up to 200 PCNs have formed limited companies

At least 100 PCNs - and potentially double that figure - have become limited companies...

A meeting with one person on a video conference screen

Improving learning log entries in GP training: a reflection on leadership

Dr Prashini Naidoo looks at a typical e-portfolio learning log entry (LLE) and discusses...

Whitehall street sign

NHS officials doubled in two years as GP workforce dropped

Staff employed by NHS England and the DHSC doubled in two years from the start of...

Child coughing

NICE traffic light tool that helps GPs spot seriously ill under-5s 'unreliable'

NICE's 'traffic light' system - intended to help GPs identify risk of serious illness...

Pregnant woman receives COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine uptake in pregnant women rising but stark inequality remains

More than half of pregnant women are now double vaccinated against COVID-19 as uptake...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...