An NHS GP surgery is running from a supermarket for the first time ever.
Sainsbury’s in Heaton Park, Manchester, is trialing the ground-breaking medical service for six months.
Doctors will be available only outside normal business hours, in the evenings and at weekends.
The surgery, which opened yesterday, is in a fully equipped consultation room at the Sainsbury’s store pharmacy.
Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust is using doctors from local surgeries to staff the centre. The work is in addition to their current roles.
The GPs working from Sainsbury’s will have full access to patients’ records via their own laptops and be able to make referrals or update records.
Patients can book through their registered GP practice by asking for an out-of-hours appointment.
The surgery will be open on Mondays and Thursdays from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, and on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm.
Middleton GP Dr Mohammed Jiva said: ‘Patients’ needs are changing and so it’s important that we find ways to provide a more flexible and convenient service.
‘A number of practices in the local area have already come on board and, once demand increases, we will be looking to roll this out even further.’
Evenings and weekends
Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: ‘This is a ground-breaking partnership that supports the government’s wider aims to make healthcare more accessible.’
Which? health policy adviser Kate Webb said: ‘Recent Which? research has told us that getting evening and weekend appointments with a GP is a real priority for consumers, so this is an interesting development that could meet this demand and we look forward to seeing the results of the pilot.