GPs "unimpressed" with plans for franchise-style health centres
Doctor representatives have described plans to replace a network of small GP surgeries in Birmingham with franchise-style health centres as "loopy".
The Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust wants to build 24 new premises to house more than 70 GPs as part of efforts to standardise care across the area.
PCT chiefs claim that the "one-stop shops" would offer patients a wider range of services, such as mental health advice and x-rays, while maintaining their relationships with their local GPs.
However, the move would require doctors to sign up to a system of agreed standards to address what is said to be a "variable" quality of care across the city.
If the existing GPs in Birmingham do not agree to the new contracts or relocating from their own surgeries, private contractors could be employed to provide medical staff instead.
The plans have been met with angry criticism from some doctors, who say they would turn surgeries into impersonal, health "supermarkets".
Birmingham GP and local medical committee member Dr Fay Wilson said: "The proposal is about getting GPs on a single brand. They want to make it more like McDonald's. They think GPs are still too independent.
"It's loopy. I think people should ask themselves if they want to go to see their own doctor or a doctor who is working for shareholders."
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