The health minister, Patricia Hewitt, is today (March 19th) expected to announce several supermarket and high street locations at which GP surgeries will open.
The move has been fuelled by reports of substandard access to healthcare provision in some areas of the UK and should enable doctors to provide services from 8:00am to 8:00pm to correspond with store opening times.
Private healthcare firms will be able to bid for contracts at stores such as Tesco and Boots, boosting the availability of healthcare, particularly when regular clinics are closed.
While the British Medical Association acknowledges that additional services are required in deprived areas, it commented: "If there are going to be new resources, as we understand there are, we would be angry if these were only offered to private providers," the Guardian reports.
The prime minister is due to unveil a public services policy review, in which greater flexibility is expected to be a key theme.
Allowing private clinics to operate in supermarkets would allow surgeries to be more flexible in their opening hours as they would be exempt from restrictive NHS GP contracts.
What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?