Sainsbury's, the supermarket giant, is to launch a nationwide network of family doctor surgeries in 204 of its stores. It is offering GPs the chance to set up branch surgeries free of charge which will provide shoppers with treatment and prescriptions while they shop. The GPs will have their main surgeries elsewhere.
GPs will benefit from extending their practices into new areas and recruiting new patients when practice boundaries disappear under the Government's planned reforms for the NHS.
Sainsbury's expects to benefit from the arrangement by attracting extra customers into its stores. The plans were revealed yesterday by the doctors' magazine, Pulse.
The link-up between the NHS and the food retailer emerged as the first NHS hospital to be franchised to the private sector was announced yesterday.
Hinchingbroke NHS Trust in Huntingdonshire is to be taken over by Circle, the private hospital operator, in a historic move that marks a new milestone in private sector involvement in the NHS.