Should hospitals be more like supermarkets?

It has been highlighted that the NHS is too inflexible in terms of meeting patients’ demands and could learn from the way that supermarkets tailor activities to customer activity. Healthcare professional Keith Willett states that hospitals need to pay more attention to variations in what care is needed rather than trying to fit patients into a rigid system. Supermarkets use weather forecasts to predict what items shoppers will purchase and similar flexibility could ease the burden on emergency units.

Willett claims that having GPs in ambulance control rooms to provide telephone advice to paramedics could allow more patients to be treated at the scene. In addition, allowing patients to book appointments at urgent care centres would reduce the number who visit A&E, reports the Telegraph.

Seasonal variation, predictive modelling and reduction of misconceptions, such as older people falling outside – in reality they fall indoors far more often, could lead to vast improvements in hospital management.

For more information go to