By Ian Quinn
Exclusive: Sainsbury’s looks set to rapidly extend its controversial new network of GP practices after revealing it has already lined up GPs to run four more branch surgeries in its stores, within days of launching a recruitment drive.
Colne, in Lancashire, has been identified as the site of the next opening. It will become the second Sainsbury’s branch surgery, after the Heaton Park store in Manchester run by Dr Mohammed Jiva.
But it looks like quickly being followed by many more, with the supermarket giant revealing it had received great interest from GPs at the first of a series of national roadshows in Crewe.
Pulse exclusively revealed last week that the supermarket chain plans to offer free premises at up to 204 of its stores to encourage GPs to set up branch surgeries, in a bid to increase its customer footfall.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Pulse: ‘Our event in Crewe was very well received by the GPs that attended and we have expressions of interest in three local stores with one of these already set to move to next stage.’
However the scheme has proved highly controversial with GPs, with new RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada earlier this week insisting that ‘supermarkets should stick to selling fruit and vegetables’, adding: ‘Dealing with the sick and vulnerable needs more than a conveyer belt, quick-fix approach to healthcare delivery.’
Sainsbury’s has declined to respond to Dr Gerada’s comments.
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