Asda plan to offer 24 / 7 GP services at all-night stores

Supermarket chain Asda is set to open in-store GP surgeries that open throughout the night and all through the weekend.

It is in talks with several unnamed PCTs with a focus on opening in existing 24-hour stores.

The news comes just days after the DoH announced plans to push for longer practice opening hours in GMS contract negotiations (GP, 2 February).

Asda said that the new surgeries would act as support to other local practices. ‘Only patients affiliated with local surgeries’ would be eligible to use the practices, a spokesman added.

The scheme is being led by Asda’s superintendent pharmacist John Evans, who said that the services were designed to be in-line with government priorities in last year’s primary care White Paper.

‘Plans are at an early stage, but we want to press ahead,’ he said.

‘We’re in preliminary talks with PCTs and we aim to improve customers’ access to healthcare services.’

The chain is investigating the  possibility of a store’s pharmacy section opening during the night to serve patients visiting the surgery.

Asda has around 150 24-hour stores, the majority of which have a pharmacy attached.

High-street chemist Boots opened its first in-house surgery this week in Poole, Dorset.

Unlike the Asda scheme, it will only be open between 9am and 5pm, but is the first in-store practice of any kind in the UK.

Initially the practice will provide GP and nurse practitioner services, phlebotomy, a heart ultrasound service, physiotherapy, podiatry, an acute back pain service, dietetics and a ‘managing your medicines’ service.

Media reports suggested that the Virgin group is looking to establish a chain of super-surgeries.

Last year, GP reported that supermarket chain Sainsbury’s wanted to house a GP surgery at one of its pharmacy sites (GP, 17 February 2006).

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