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UK Supermarkets to Open GP Surgeries in Stores - Start of a Trend

Politics / NHS Mar 19, 2007 - 01:54 AM GMT

By: Nadeem_Walayat

Politics

UK Health Minister, Patricia Hewitt is expected to announce later today that GP surgeries are expected to open in supermarkets and high street stores, due to many areas of the UK experiencing unreliable GP services and access.

UK Supermarkets to Open GP Surgeries in Stores - Start of a Trend


The contracts will be awarded on a tender basis, so private healthcare firms in conjunction with stores such as Tesco's and Boots will be able to bid for services introducing some market orientated reforms. Despite the step in the right direction, this represents a small step where the total estimated contract value is some £30 millions, which is dwarfed by the £110 billion NHS budget.

The step in part is to answer to the 'Out of Hours' fiasco, where overpaid GP's have abandoned patients due to contracts which have awarded GP pay rises totaling anywhere from 50% to over 100% since 2004. Patients increasingly have seen the availability of their GP's dwindling away, with tighter windows of when a patient is likely to be seen by their GP. Therefore these in store surgeries are expected to cover out of hours patient care inline with the opening and closing times of the stores, and represents a step towards 24 hour healthcare.

Hopefully this will bring some competition into an over priced, failing system, where increasingly private healthcare will be able to replace those GP surgeries that prove ineffective in dealing with patient care. A mix of private and NHS treatment will boost the availability of patient services and also bring economies of scale to bare. Much as the supermarkets have succeeded in cutting the costs for many other goods and services.

The private healthcare system continues to boom in the UK in response to a wasteful NHS, that wastes 70p of every £1 meant for patient care. The in store GP surgeries are likely to be vastly expanded in the coming years. Therefore the retailers that are able to secure the initial contracts could one day be rolling out surgeries in all of their major stores and forcing GP surgeries to provide more effective patient care or lose their patients to more competent private surgeries.

By Nadeem Walayat

(c) MarketOracle.co.uk 2007 - All Rights Reserved.


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