No supermarket plans to employ GPs
No large supermarket or retail chain plans to open general practice surgeries on their premises and directly employ GPs, a Pulse investigation reveals.
The findings question suggestions that supermarkets are poised to take advantage of opportunities created by the
Department of Health and take the lead in running new inner-city GP practices.
But they back the view of former health minister Lord Warner, who believes that stores will become involved in renting out land or premises to GP practices rather than entering primary care themselves.
Tesco and Virgin Health Clubs told Pulse they had no plans to house GP practices in their stores, and Asda and Morrisons would not comment.
Only Sainsbury's is looking at the possibility of trialling GP surgeries. However, it has yet to identify a suitable location or set out a timetable and is not committed to employing GPs directly.
In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Lord Warner said that the premium price of land in inner cities was a major
hindrance in increasing the
provision of primary care in
deprived areas, but he did not think large retailers would want to enter the health market.
'I am a total sceptic about whether Tesco and Sainsbury's really wish to come in to these areas and run clinical services. It's about getting the really enterprising forward-looking cadre of GPs who are already around to play a bigger role and expand into those areas.
'It's the job of commission-ers to facilitate that,' he added.
'The biggest scandal for the NHS over a long period is the neglect of some of the poorest areas, the inner cities, in terms of primary care.'