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Editor’s blog Sunday 23 May 2010: Supermarket sweep - Sainsbury's surgery shuts

Further to our last story on Asda's incursion into health policy, it was interesting to note (via a news link on the excellent Dr Grumble blog)  that the country's first supermarket-based GP service has lost its funding from the PCT.

The innovation was worth trying, but Heywood Middleton and Rochdale PCT are to be commended for having the intellectual honesty to evaluate the pilot's success, and more importantly, the conviction to cut it because it did not meet their criteria. That is valid and good decommissioning.

The PCT representative quoted points out that “a thorough evaluation concluded that whilst the location of the service was innovative, the cost was higher compared to other extended hours schemes", adding that extended GP access had also contributed to the lack of ongoing justification for its funding.

The NHS should try innovative approaches to service provision, as this one was. It should of course be wary of over-promising over their likely success.

And a core part of commissioning is exactly what has happened here: assessing population needs, and acting when services do not meet the criteria at the right cost.

This is a very good news story for the local NHS. Well done, Heywood Middleton and Rochdale PCT .