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GPs 'could link with Tesco'

GPs could launch joint ventures with private companies and provide services in that firm's name, according to the head of a new forum for 'independent' providers of NHS services.

Paul Preston, head of the Independent Health Forum, said the move could allow GPs to cash in on the lifting of the ban on trading goodwill for additional and enhanced services. He added that the move would be one way of realising ministers' desire for a 'level playing field' between GPs and alternative providers.

Mr Preston said such partnerships would allow companies not traditionally associated with health care to get a foothold in primary care. 'What we are going to see is lots of innovation over the next 12 months,' he said.

'People will try different things and we could see operators such as Boots or Tesco, for example, working with local GPs to set up services. I'm awestruck by the number of people who are waiting in the wings prepared to invest.'

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