Norwich Union Healthcare has confirmed it plans to launch a PMI product to be sold through Sinclair Montrose Healthcare, which operates Medicentre, a chain of `walk-in’ private GP surgeries. Full details have yet to emerge but the policy will provide cover for treatment in the clinics. The first clinic was opened at Victoria Station in 18 months ago. Other clinics have sprung up in stations and supermarkets. Medicentre has announced a high street trial that will see clinics being opened in both Boots and Asda stores.
By December, the company said there would be 24 Medicentre clinics nationwide.
Louise Zucchi, spokeswoman for NU Healthcare said: “We are currently in discussion with Sinclair Montrose. It is likely that they will sell a branded NU product.”
Paul Stacey, a director of Sinclair Montrose Healthcare, confirmed the company was talking to a major PMI provider, with a view to providing a PMI product covering treatment at Medicentres.
Last October, NU Healthcare took a 5% stake in Sinclair Montrose when the company was floated on the Alternative Investment Market. NU Healthcare’s commercial director, Tim Baker was appointed to the Sinclair Montrose board. When Sinclair Montrose was floated it raised £6.6m net of expenses, mainly to fund further expansion of the Medicentre business.
At the time Baker said he looked forward to “developing insurance products linked to Medicentre.”
Kate Bleasdale, group chief executive at Sinclair Montrose said: “We are working with NU Healthcare to explore ways in which we can expand in the primary healthcare sector.”
The walk-in surgeries are in shopping centres, supermarkets and stations. Customers need no appointment, and can simply drop in for a consultation with a GP.
But the cost of private treatment – £250 for a male chest X-ray and check-up – is thought to be prohibitive to some customers. It is thought that with a PMI scheme, Medicentre will become a more attractive option in future.