UK Welcoming Growing Trend of Healthcare Services in Retail Spaces


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – The healthcare system in the UK is currently facing significant strain, as funding is not reaching the front-line services and necessary infrastructure changes. However, a new study proposes an innovative solution to alleviate this pressure: conducting certain health interventions at retail locations instead of traditional settings like hospitals or GP surgeries.

Recent data reveals that a staggering 7.47 million individuals are awaiting routine hospital treatment. Unfortunately, the investment in the National Health Service (NHS) is increasingly being absorbed by administrative bureaucracy and private contracts for “strategic advice.” Consequently, understaffed hospitals are struggling to meet the growing demand caused by both a persistent public health emergency and an aging population.

Insured Private Medical Admissions Have Reached A Peak

In the midst of this challenging situation, the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has released data indicating that insured private medical admissions have reached a post-pandemic peak. Desperate patients are turning to private healthcare options to receive the necessary treatment, resulting in 134,000 treatments paid for by private insurance in the third quarter of 2022.

When including self-pay options, which have slightly decreased but remain higher than pre-pandemic levels, the total number of private treatments recorded is 200,000. This figure represents the highest number since early 2021.By addressing the strain on the healthcare system through innovative approaches like conducting health interventions at retail locations, we can potentially alleviate the burden on hospitals and GP surgeries.

This shift could help ensure that patients receive the care they need in a timely manner, while also allowing the NHS to focus its resources on critical cases. It is crucial that we explore alternative solutions to meet the demands of our healthcare system and provide efficient and effective care to all individuals in need.

Growing Demand For Private Healthcare

Entrepreneurs have keenly observed the emerging trend of a growing demand for private healthcare. With the NHS struggling due to years of austerity, budget cuts, and mismanagement, there is a lucrative opportunity for these entrepreneurs to tap into a market they have long desired to penetrate.

Deloitte, a prominent player in the healthcare industry, has recognized this potential and suggests that it may be the right time to explore the possibility of offering certain healthcare services in a retail setting.

In early 2023, Deloitte conducted a comprehensive survey involving over 16,000 participants from 15 different countries. The aim was to gauge public opinion regarding the provision of basic healthcare services in retail locations, as opposed to traditional healthcare facilities such as general practitioner clinics, hospitals, or pharmacies.

Individuals In UK Seeking To Receive Prompt Medical Attention

Given the increasing desperation of individuals to receive prompt medical attention, it is not surprising that the concept of retail healthcare was most readily embraced by people in the UK, surpassing the acceptance levels of any other European country.

This shift towards retail healthcare signifies a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs to cater to the needs of individuals seeking quick and convenient access to healthcare services. By capitalizing on this trend, entrepreneurs can not only meet the demands of the market but also contribute to the overall improvement of healthcare delivery.

According to Deloitte, Europe is currently experiencing rapid growth in the field of ‘in-store healthcare‘. The United Kingdom and Ireland have shown a high level of comfort with services such as pressure measurement, cholesterol management, and sleep advice being offered in retail settings.

Read More: UK Government To Grant Private Companies Greater Access To health diagnostics

Consumers Are Comfortable With Retailers Providing Services

Additionally, these consumers are relatively comfortable with retailers providing services such as birth control, tests and analysis, and physiotherapy. However, only the UK has expressed the same level of comfort when it comes to burn-out and well-being interventions.

Interestingly, the UK, along with Ireland, Denmark, and Portugal, is one of the few countries where a full-body scan is not considered ‘less comfortable’. So, what factors are influencing these sentiments? An analysis of sentiment across the continent reveals that the most important factors for consumers in considering healthcare interventions from retail locations are high qualifications, good hygiene, appointment availability, and affordability.

However, the UK stands out from this trend. It surpasses other countries in terms of appointment availability at convenient times, while being less concerned about the qualifications of healthcare providers. This may be indicative of the growing waiting lists for NHS patients and a sense of desperation to be seen by any healthcare professional. 

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.