By Ian Quinn
The RCGP has savaged plans by supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to launch a nationwide general practice network, with new chair Dr Clare Gerada warning against a ‘conveyor-belt’ approach to healthcare delivery.
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.
The company is launching a series of national roadshows this week to sign up GPs to the project, hoping to have at least 40.
However, Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP chair, said: ‘Supermarkets should stick to selling fruit and vegetables. General practitioners would be sanctioned for selling tobacco products, alcohol and high calorie foods or advertising and selling products of limited medical value within their surgeries. Yet, supermarkets can do all of these alongside providing pharmacy and now, general practice care.’
‘GP practices are at the heart of their community’s health service and they obviously take patients’ health needs very seriously. Dealing with the sick and vulnerable needs more than a conveyer belt, quick-fix approach to healthcare delivery.’
‘Access to services is of course important and it is right that GPs think imaginatively about the settings they work in so they are able to serve the public. However, we would urge any GPs tempted by supermarket offers of “no rent” and “no overheads” to take a step back and consider how they are able to provide excellent generalist care in such environments.’
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s declined to respond to Dr Gerada’s comments.
Dr Clare Gerada: Sainsbury’s should ‘stick to selling fruit and veg’ Dr Clare Gerada: Sainsbury’s should ‘stick to selling fruit and veg’