High Street Healthcare
Several UK newspapers have reported plans for the UK's high street retailer Boots to house NHS GP surgeries and hospital consultants in its stores. The Government has apparenly been impressed by its management of free testing for Chlamydia, which about 14 000 people have taken advantage of. Boots is discussing its plans--which may entail offering in store podiatry, orthopaedic and physiotherapy treatment, as well as healthy heart checks--with UK Primary Care Trusts (PCT) .
The Boots group has three main businesses: Boots the Chemists, Health and Beauty and Boots Opticians. It operates from about 1 500 branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland and serves 8 million customers a week.
Boots has invested about £120m in one of Europe's largest SAP systems, which encompasses finance, treasury, HR and property and is also used to to plan the optimum layout and stockholding of its retail outlets. It has begun to use radio frequency hand-held terminals to manage stock in real time, and its MyStoreNet intranet site provides store managers with real time information on performance.
Decentralisation of healthcare and a move away from centralised, highly skilled specialists were hinted at in last year's NHS Chief Executive's report (see FHIT posting).