Today in Aisle Too, Shoppers, You Can Get a Physical

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

What if you could see your family doctor in the same place  as you buy tomatoes, soup, bread, and milk?  We live in a world of convenience these days, but over in  Britain things are being taken to a new level. Check-ups at  the clinic are generally not convenient at all, with patients  notoriously kept waiting (in the aptly-named waiting  rooms) well after their time slot. But what if the clinic was  transported right into your local supermarket?  British authorities are inviting major retail stores, such as  Boots (massive pharmacy chain) and Tesco (giant grocery chain) to open up actual surgery rooms within their stores.  Authorities are looking at areas of the country that are  lacking doctors in an attempt to draw new “experienced  healthcare providers” to the area.

  The groundbreaking idea is this: have doctors perform  anything from a routine physical to a minor surgery in the  same place people are stocking up on their cereal. It’s a  new approach to a rising dilemma that is happening all  across the western world: there are too few doctors to  handle patients.  By the end of 2008, about 30 areas of Britain are expected  to have these grocery-clinics set up. This isn’t a  government-run operation, but instead private healthcare  providers will be able to step into these clinics. That means  they can stay open whenever they want, into the evening,  early in the morning, or on Sundays. That’s one of the  reasons Britain chose grocery stores, as they tend to stay  open during convenient hours for patients, because a recent  survey found out that doctors keep hours that can be

 difficult for most people.  The one thing a supermarket must do first is strike a  relationship with a general practitioner before it can be  considered for a clinic. In February of this year, the first  Boots store (in Dorset) launched its own doctor’s office — it  was from a doctor who had rented out a room. Now, many other big chains are interested in the idea, and why not? It  would bring more customers into the store, which is the  aim of any retail operation.

 There is no word of what could happen in the United  States, but regulators here are certainly keeping a watchful  eye on what happens in Britain. It may be only a matter of  time before your local Safeway, A&P, Costco, or even  Wal-Mart gets itself an in-house doctor.

 Think of the convenience.