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Woolworths' health "checkouts" belong in the bargain bin

01 Jul 2014

AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, today called on Woolworths to scrap plans to introduce in-store health checks in its supermarkets.

A/Prof Owler said the proposal, which is reported to involve pharmacy students, graduating pharmacists, and nurses conducting blood pressure and cholesterol tests in supermarket aisles, dangerously undermines quality health care and could put patients at risk.

“Australia has a quality primary health care system that is built on general practice and highly qualified GPs leading primary care teams,” A/Prof Owler said.

“It would be dangerous for health checks to be conducted in supermarket aisles by people who are not appropriately trained or qualified.

“Nothing is simple or straightforward when checking a person’s health.

“In the proposed Woolworths environment, there would be no access to patient history and there would be no privacy.

“The people conducting the checks would not have the knowledge or experience to advise people about lifestyle factors, medications, side effects, or related conditions.

“The checks would not be conducted in a safe, clinical environment.

“It would be highly inappropriate to conduct health checks in a location that sold alcohol, cigarettes, sugary drinks, energy drinks, and high-fat foods – the things that contribute to ill health in the first place.

“These checks also run the risk of making people think they would not have to see their doctor.

“This is a dangerous idea that should be stopped before it gets off the ground.

“Good health is not something that you can pick off a supermarket shelf,” A/Prof Owler said.



1 July 2014


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                            Odette Visser                      02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753


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Published: 01 Jul 2014