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Retailers to bid for GP contracts

21st March 2007

Retailers are to be given the chance to run NHS GP surgeries over the next five years as part of a £225m plan.

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Prime minister Tony Blair also announced that many patients awaiting acute care will be given a wider choice of hospital by the end of 2007, instead of waiting until the end of 2008.

Currently patients are given a choice of up to four hospitals in which to have operations, but this will be extended to any provider for certain operations by the end of the year.

The announcements came following a detailed six-month review - the largest undertaken in Whitehall since the 1970s. The results will be used to develop the comprehensive spending review and consultations on a wide range of issues.

In the past six months, the government has produced 62 substantive policy papers, which have provided the basis for the review.

Other measures announced include plans for additional family practices and walk-in medical centres in cities considered ‘under doctored’.

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