NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 4, 2008

Some Britons can add a visit to the doctor to their shopping lists.  J Sainsbury, one of Britain's largest supermarket chains, is to become the first in the country to offer a visit to a family doctor in one of its stores, says the New York Times.


  • Unlike Wal-Mart's private entry into health care with clinics and discount pharmaceuticals in the United States, at Sainsbury, a team of government-financed doctors will see patients.
  • The program will differ from American walk-in clinics in that only patients registered with the supermarket doctors' practice can book appointments.
  • To start, they will work in the evenings and on Saturdays in a fully equipped consultation room in one store in Manchester.
  • If the pilot project succeeds, it is expected to be introduced in other Sainsbury stores this year.

Overall, the supermarket doctors are expected not only to help patients but also the government. British authorities have struggled to improve their taxpayer-financed national health service and to make doctors more readily available to patients.  The doctors may also help Sainsbury.  Like other retailers, the company is searching for ways to increase profits as growth in its traditional food business has slowed.

Source: Julia Werdigier, "Combining Grocery Shopping With Doctors' Appointments," New York Times, March 3, 2008.

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