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Independents' Day

Virgin offers profit-share to GPs

By Gareth Iacobucci

Richard Branson's Virgin empire this week divided GP opinion over its plans to set up a network of GP surgeries, after revealing proposals to share profits with GPs who sign up with it.

GPs who have attended the company's recruitment roadshows, taking place in 26 venues across the country, have been offered a share of the profits from other services at the centres.

Virgin this week denied speculation that the amount offered was specified as 10%, but admitted its executives had discussed plans to reward GPs, as well as proposals to give GPs customer services training and set up Virgin health targets to operate alongside the QOF.

Dr Caimin Hardiman, a GP in Norwich who attended the Virgin Roadshow in the city, said there ‘may be a conflict of interest between the requirements of the GP practice and the requirements of Virgin'.

A Virgin Healthcare spokes-person said: ‘Virgin will have a clinical framework to manage clinical aspects in any centre that could be linked to quality. Yes, there will be profit-share, but there isn't any detail on that yet.'

Pulse reported last week that some GPs were unhappy at proposals by Virgin that they would hand over control of all non-clinical staff, despite keeping their GMS contracts.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said: ‘This arrangement clearly will concern many GPs who value the benefits of employing their own staff. This is a key part of developing a good practice team.

‘However, GPs vary in their needs and the model being suggested by Virgin may appeal to a small number of GPs who prefer to focus on clinical care rather than the management of staff.'

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