Retail giant Sainsbury's is planning on expanding an initiative that offers space on its premises for primary care services.
The group has confirmed that its stores in Harrogate, Penzance, Birmingham, East Grinstead, Leicester, London, York, Brighton, Scunthorpe and Aberdeen are gearing up to house GP practices, which will be run by a mix of GPs and practice nurses.
All of the premises will be offered by Sainsbury's rent free, and facilities will be entirely managed and owned by the National Health Service, a company spokesman confirmed to PharmaTimes UK News.
The group opened its first in-store GP surgery back in 2008, and now has 13 others in its stores, and another 24 on its property - in separate facilities such as car parks.
Explaining the rationale behind expanding the programme, David Gilder, Sainsbury’s Professional Services Manager, said: “We know from experience that a Sainsbury’s store, often situated in a convenient location with ample parking and public transport links, is a great spot for a GPs surgery".
"Customers tell us they really value having this service on site and GPs tell us that the feedback they have had from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The move fits well with government attempts to increase the accessibility of primary care services to patients.
But there are those who seem against the move. Dr John Etherton, a GP in Rotting Dean near Brighton, told Pulse, which first reported the story: "I do not feel that a supermarket of any kind is a suitable place to have a GP surgery. It distorts the public’s perception of the service provided".
"The provision of primary care historically was and needs to be in dedicated premises where that is the main function provided. Other facilities can be added on, but it shouldn’t be the other way around where the surgery is the add-on," he argues.