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Letter of the week - I see my livelihood being franchised away

And so it starts. We've all long suspected this was the Government's plan, but to see it enacted is still a shock (‘Practices offered to high-street stores in franchise plan', News, 14 November).

Suddenly I do not feel at all secure.

My PCT is badly managed, in debt and, conveniently, in a safe Tory area, so I fully expect them to be franchising my career and livelihood away in short order!

Governments of all political hue have long been exasperated by the independence of GPs, and what better way to ensure they behave than make a franchise the only game in town. Go into Boots anywhere and they are indistinguishable from each other. Will companies be allowed to dictate everything, right down to the drugs you prescribe and the consultant you refer to?

This is an obsessive micro-manager's fantasy, and if anybody really believes it will produce efficiency they are deluded.

The genius of this is that the Department of Health can distance itself politically by pointing to ‘local' decision making, avoiding any fallout, while setting the standards the franchises run to. And because they completely fail to realise the beauty of British general practice lies in its individuality, the people of Birmingham will be badly let down.

At a stroke, 76 practices' worth of jobs are going to be destroyed. There are so many problems with this it's hard to know where to start.

From Dr Richard Hook, Marlborough, Wiltshire

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