'Supermarkets have no plans to run surgeries'

Reports that private companies want to provide alternative primary care services to improve GP access are inaccurate, according to the GPC.

Large private companies' interest in the NHS is only to rent space to health centres, said GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman. Media reports that private companies would be competing with or taking over surgeries were inaccurate, he claimed.

Dr Buckman said: 'They are just utilising spare floorspace. They are not interested in being rivals. There is a commercial benefit for them for having such practices. For GPs it is a good way to improve access or overcome problems such as car parking.'

The proposals seemed reasonable and in no way offered a rival service, Dr Buckman said. Current in-store practices are branch surgeries with GMS contracts.

Dr Buckman accused the government of launching a 'hate campaign' against GPs about access through the media.

He said the government had not contacted him about the 'access issues' recently reported.

'No one has told me or suggested to me there is a problem,' he said.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'The public would not benefit from commercial companies offering any rival service. The government is misguided if it thinks they can provide equivalent levels of care.'

A Tesco spokesman said: 'We support the government's aim to make healthcare more accessible for people and have provided health centres alongside some of our stores.

'We have no plans to offer GP surgeries in store, but we will look at ways we can offer health services to our customers.'

Dr Buckman cited Tesco, Asda and Morrisons as all showing an interest in providing space for rental. He spoke of how parking problems could be eased if surgeries were put in supermarket car parks and the successful scheme within Boots in Poole, Dorset.

It functions as a 'branch' surgery of an established medical centre, with GP services available Monday to Friday, during working hours of the store.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GMC sign

Gaps in GMC referral and exam pass rates for ethnic minority doctors falling, says GMC

Gaps in fitness to practise referrals and exam pass rates between doctors from white...

Pharmacy shelves

Menopause prescribing advice updated as HRT shortage continues

The British Menopause Society has recommended alternative options for prescribers...

GP sign

Using IIF cash to top up staff pay risks major gap in practice finances, warn accountants

GP practices could face a major cash shortfall in 2024/25 if they use investment...

Paxlovid – one of the treatments available for COVID-19

GPs could play bigger role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments from end of June

GPs could play a greater role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments to patients at risk...

Physiotherapist works with patient

Is the government right to claim its 26,000 additional roles target has been met?

Prime minister Rishi Sunak claimed last month that the government had met its manifesto...

Statement of fitness for work

GP training: Tips for completing FIT notes

GP trainer Dr Pipin Singh provides advice for trainees on how to complete fit notes,...