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Independents' Day

Sainsbury's to host first supermarket GP surgeries

By Tony Lithgow

Sainsbury's has become the first UK supermarket chain to host GP surgeries offering extended opening hours in a pioneering initiative set to launch next month.

GPs from three different practices will work from a consulting room at the store in Heaton Park, near Prestwich in Lancashire.

The in-store GPs will run appointments between 1830 and 2130 on Mondays and Thursdays, as well from 1100 to 1500 on Saturdays.

It is the first phase of a £126,000 six-month pilot scheme by Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust to offer extended GP opening hours.

Rochdale and Bury LMC Secretary Dr Mohammed Jiva, who will run the clinic through his private company Doctors in Store, said: 'If the demand is there, there is the potential to roll this out at stores over a wider area.'

Dr Jiva said he had contacted several supermarket chains about hosting the surgeries, but had had the most positive response from Sainsbury's.

He said: "Patients' needs are changing and therefore we need to find ways of providing a more flexible and convenient service. This offers them a service at a familiar location and at times when they can do their shopping as well."

The GPs involved will work at the store in addition to their regular hours at local surgeries in Heywood and Middleton. They will have full secure access to patient medical details and be able to make referrals or update records. Patients will be able to book appointments through their registered GP practice.

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