Ministers are set to meet retailers and private healthcare providers to discuss opening GP surgeries in shops.

The idea has been mooted since February 2006 when the government revealed it was keen to open GP surgeries in large stores such as supermarkets in a bid to make health services more accessible.

High street pharmacies Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy have already expressed interest in the scheme, with reports suggesting Tesco and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group could also be interested.