The Dentist is In at Sainsbury

Discussion
Sep 17, 2008

By George Anderson

Medical clinics are popping up in stores, while vision centers have been in operation at clubs and other stores for years. So, perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that a dental clinic has opened for business inside a Sainsbury supermarket in the U.K.

David Gilder, of Sainsbury’s, told BBC News, “There is a shortage of dental practices in the U.K. and the launch of this new service goes some way to providing local people with greater access to dental advice and a range of procedures.”

Lance Knight, known as the “dentist to the stars” in the U.K., is the founder of the service. He said the Sainsbury clinic would serve customers seven days a week to make “dental healthcare more accessible and convenient to better meet patients’ needs.”

The fee charged for services are below that charged by Britain’s National Health Service, according to a piece by the Indo-Asian News Service on the Sindh Today website.

Mary Gilfoyle, a patient at the clinic, said, “I thought it was brilliant. I have even had a white filling. If I would have been with an NHS dentist, that would have cost 55 pounds [$98] – and they couldn’t see me for two days.”

Discussion Questions: What is your reaction to placing dental clinics in stores? Is there any of the yuck factor associated with dental practices that people have talked about in connection with in-store health clinics? Is this something that would work in the U.K. but not in U.S.?

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8 Comments on "The Dentist is In at Sainsbury"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 8 months ago

Many folks would say that dentists already practice in most American stores. After all, trying to get customer service is harder than pulling teeth.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
13 years 8 months ago

Makes sense, especially for the most common of visits like teeth cleaning. It’s great for the busy consumer. The clinics would be wise to provide an area via internet or phone calls that people can use to access their insurance carriers to confirm coverage.

Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
13 years 8 months ago

Having worked with dozens of dental practices in both Canada and the US, I can tell you that two things people look for are convenience and comfort. A successful practice will make people feel welcome and at ease, regardless of the location. I would also think that unlike an optical store, a dental office would be more enclosed, providing more privacy.

If all this is done right, I see no reason why this would not be a success.

Dick Seesel
Guest
13 years 8 months ago

Sears has been in the dental business for many years. It probably made sense at one time when Sears tried to provide “one-stop shopping” for a variety of services, such as car repairs, Allstate insurance and so on. So this is not really a new idea, and it’s hard to say that Sears’ “all things to all people” approach works any more.

It does make sense for retailers with critical mass in related categories (pharmacy, HBA) to venture into medical clinics, optometry and dentistry–if they have the space available to execute properly. That’s why this idea is turning traditional outlets for medical care on their ear, here in the U.S. and obviously, elsewhere.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
13 years 8 months ago

I like this idea. Consumers are so busy and this gives them an opportunity to be more efficient with their time. This falls under the category of medical retail.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
13 years 8 months ago

Obviously, this is a no brainier. There are already vision, hearing and medical clinics in most big box mass merchandise stores. Adding dental clinic will just round out the services that the customer can have. Getting your oil changed while having your teeth cleaned creates a time saver in which customers would consider valuable.

Max Goldberg
Guest
13 years 8 months ago

Medical clinics in stores are a good idea, provided that they are staffed by knowledgeable, well-trained professionals, are spotlessly sanitary, keep good patient records, value customer privacy and are reasonably priced.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
13 years 8 months ago

The placement of dental clinics within retail boxes follows several precedents and should prove to be as successful as many of its predecessors.

Health care and services is becoming a ‘premium’ to many families and having health clinics, optometrists, pharmacists and now dental clinics, provides both convenience and competitive prices.

The convenience factor is important because for most people, dentists, opticians and even doctors are destination visits and as such are often the kind of a trip which is put off or ignored. By grouping such services together within a location which is visited nearly weekly by many shoppers, its convenience may be the catalyst needed for more people to visit. If, as we have seen with pharmacy and RediClinics, the pricing and service bundles offered are very competitive, it then provides a win-win for both consumers and retailers.

I say it is a good idea and a good thing, especially in light of the impact to the industry that placing pharmacies has had on pricing!

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