An interesting development from the USA, with Walmart looking into becoming a primary healthcare provider. This is prompted by the forthcoming American health care reforms, and in part is a way of providing healthcare to their own employees. Report here.
This is going further than Boots are doing here (the NHS covers so much anyway). Walmart already have in-store clinics (as do Boots) but this is a step beyond.
Does this have any bearing on legal services in England? The alleged benefits to consumers are the same, but as the Flagerlive.com article notes:
“Maybe Walmart can deliver a lot of this stuff more cheaply because it is an expert at doing this with other types of widgets, but health care is not a widget and managing individual human beings is not nearly as simple as selling commercial products to consumers,” says Ann O’Malley, a physician and senior health researcher at the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.
The other interesting point comes from the comments under the article. Successfully leveraging a brand to provide professional services depends on the strength of the brand. And some brands (rightly or wrongly) can give rise to hostility. Any British bank will have this problem for the foreseeable future.