By Laura Passi
Sainsbury's has begun to build its national network of supermarket-based GP surgeries, with a total of eight in-store surgeries due to be open by the end of this summer.
Pulse revealed last November that the supermarket giant was offering premises free of charge to GP practices. Two surgeries are already open in Greater Manchester and Lancashire and now the supermarket has revealed another six surgeries will join them over the next few months.
The development comes after last week's decision by NHS North Lincolnshire's board to reject an application by a practice in Scunthorpe to open a surgery in a Sainsbury's store. The decision was based on an audit that found the intended room was too small, couldn't be cleaned adequately and consultations could be overheard.
A Sainsbury's spokesperson said: 'We have the highest standards in all our stores so naturally we were disappointed with the findings of North Lincolnshire PCT.'
'The same model of consultation room in another Sainsbury's store in the county was approved earlier this year and the model has also been approved by other PCTs across the country without complaint.'
'We have no doubt that a GP surgery in our Scunthorpe store will be a real benefit to patients and local residents and we will continue to work closely with the PCT to ensure that this plan comes to fruition.'
Speaking in December, RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada criticised the move by Sainsbury's. 'Dealing with the sick and vulnerable needs more than a conveyer belt, quick-fix approach to healthcare delivery,' she said.Consultations will be carried out in a private room and not the bread aisle What do you think of the health bill?