Jiva’s newly formed company Doctors in Store will open the practice, tonight which offers people out-of-hours access to healthcare professionals, with Sainsbury’s in one of its supermarkets in Greater Manchester.
Jiva says he came up with the concept when he heard about the government’s discussion on extending GPs’ consultation hours. “I started thinking about how we could offer patients a convenient service that meant they could get medical attention without putting their lives on hold. Getting an appointment with a doctor is difficult for most people,” he says.
A full-time GP, Jiva decided the answer lay in offering people a way to address their health needs while they address other needs. “People spend a lot of time in supermarkets so it made sense to pose the idea to stores. I approached Tesco, who weren’t interested at all, and I never heard back from Asda. Sainsbury’s, on the other hand, made an appointment to meet with us practically the next day.”
The Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust is funding the pilot and, according to the Times, two other trials in the region at a cost of £127,000.
Residents in the Greater Manchester area will be able to use the Doctors in Store service while GPs can register to be part of the scheme. Registered practices will have access to the appointment book at the Sainsbury’s surgery “which displays all the available time-slots”, according to Jiva.
He adds: “When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll be received by the pharmacy assistant who will have a list of everyone booked in to use the Sainsbury’s surgery that day. When you give your name and surgery, we’ll be able to connect to your surgery’s server to access your full medical records.
“The idea is that the full control lies with your GP. We are simply an additional resource there to complement the healthcare service.”
So, how does the public feel about the idea of surgeries in supermarkets? Jiva says the feedback has been positive: “They say, ‘It’s brilliant, why didn’t anyone think of it before?’”
Think Jiva’s on to something, or would you prefer sick people were kept well away from the fresh produce? Have your say below. Picture source
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