The continued expansion of the government's flagship primary care policy has seen a fully equipped instore supermarket "polyclinic" open in Manchester.
The facility now has dental, GP, pharmacy and podiatry services all on the same site in north Manchester. The Sainsbury's in Heaton Park has a range of private and NHS healthcare facilities available, with the dentist's surgery the latest to open.
The opening of the first dental service in Sainsbury's last September in Sale in south Manchester was hailed as a huge success, with up to 3,500 patients registering.
The new scheme will double the number of consultation rooms from two to four, which will accommodate around 12,000 patients each year.
Dentist Dr Lance Knight will provide treatments including check-ups, crowns and implants seven days a week.
Two fulltime pharmacists offer a number of services, including screening for high-blood pressure and advice on how to quit smoking, while a podiatrist holds four clinics a week.
Graham Stringer, MP for Manchester Blackley, said: "The opening of the dental surgery is great news for the people of north Manchester. The success of the doctors based in the store has shown that there is a real need for easy access health facilities."
Copyright © Press Association 2009
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"I think what this illustrates is that there are opportunities, which have been created by the way APMS contracts are being tendered, which allows differing models of service provision to compete with traditional GP service provision. If the patient is genuinely allowed to choose the service that they prefer, then this type of market force may not necessarily be a bad option. However, there is a danger that creating a variety of different service provision models means that it will become increasingly difficult to monitor the quality of the services provided. One way this could be resolved is if the standards for better healthcare are applied to all organisations providing care services, which are then monitored by the healthcare commission. This would safeguard everybody's interests and ensure that those providers who fail to deliver the appropriate standard of service (whether a GP practice or other provider) are tackled to improve services or, if needed, offered to those organisations that show that they can deliver" – Steve Williams, London
"They are to be congratulated if they work well but spare a thought for the GP practices that are losing patients to them. They may well be put in the same position as the small traders who have lost out to the big supermarkets. Patients who are active, able to go to the supermarket and aren't bothered about continuity of care could put at risk the services for the chronically ill and immobile. Small GP practices will not be able to survive the loss of large numbers of patients leaving the more difficult to treat patients with less, not more, choice" – Name and address withheld