Boots to open high street surgeries

Boots, the health and beauty retailer, is expected to host the first high street GP surgery early in the new year, after signing contracts with NHS chiefs.

Boots has run a nurse-operated walk-in centre for several years in Birmingham but is now thought to be considering GP surgeries in several of its flagship stores with the first one located in Poole, Dorset.

Boots joins a number of high street chains currently investigating bringing GPs to work on their premises, with Lloyds Pharmacies and Sainsbury’s supermarkets also considering locating GPs in some existing pharmacy sites.

Boots placed an advert in GP earlier this year offering major premises improvements to place pharmacists inside existing GP surgeries (GP, 6 October), but this marks the first move of GPs to high street stores.

Debbie Fleming, chief executive of Bournemouth and Poole PCT, said: ‘We know from our patient and public involvement surveys that people want to see a full range of services provided in local areas where they have good access to public transport and that these services should be no more than two or three miles from their home.

‘Working with Boots has given us the perfect opportunity to meet these needs.’

Alex Gourlay, Boots healthcare director, said: ‘This is an excellent example of the potential for pharmacy to be involved in the wider provision of healthcare.

‘The pharmacy is more than just a place to pick up prescriptions, and we hope that this development will help demonstrate the increasing role that pharmacy can play in people’s lives.’

A DoH spokesman said: ‘We need to extend access to GP services and use of private sector premises is just one of the ways this could be done.’

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