British GPs are exporting the UK model of general practice to India in a million-pound scheme to build nearly 150 primary health centres across the country.
The group of 15 doctors have set up a social enterprise company - Pathfinder Healthcare – that has raised £1m of private capital to invest in its first eight primary health centres, and has plans to open more.
Four of these have now been built in Dehli, with others planned for Hyderabad, Bangalore, Amritsar and Rewari.
India has no national health system, so patients will be charged 200 to 300 Rupees (£4 -5) for an initial consultation, and prescribed only generic drugs, dispensed from attached pharmacies. The new centres will also offer a district nursing service.
Dr Niti Pall, a GP in Birmingham and a member of the Department of Health's NHS Future Forum, is one of the GPs, including her five GP partners, who set up the company two years ago.
Dr Pall, chair and managing director of Pathfinder Health India, says the company is the ‘NHS brand' in India and as the Indian Government plans to double its health expenditure from 1% to 2% of GDP, she aims to bid for Government contracts and to find further investors to expand its network to up to 145 primary care centres.
She said: ‘We developed a model that looks like British general practice with an Indian touch.'
‘Primary health care is very poorly developed in India – unlike their hospitals. Our target market will be the emerging middle classes, who really struggle. It will be a low-cost option.'
‘We are the NHS brand in India at the moment. We are very proud of British general practice. We are re-inventing the family doctor tradition in India.'
‘As the project takes off we will go into rural areas with a different model, a nurse-led one.'