Six Woolworths stores in New South Wales and Queensland are trialling in-store health checks, but should you trust them?
Woolworths has confirmed to the ABC that it’s hiring final year pharmacy students, graduating pharmacists and nurses to conduct basic health checks (for things like blood pressure and cholesterol) in their stores. If customers have readings outside a normal range, they’ll be directed to a doctor or pharmacist for medical advice.
The scheme will eventually expand to other Woolworths stores across Australia.
Two powerful lobby groups — the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) — have wasted no time denouncing the plan.
The PGA has called the check-ups an attempt to “hoodwink consumers into believing they can get professional pharmacist advice and products from a supermarket”.
“It’s hypocritical and frankly a public disservice that a supermarket giant which profits so heavily from retailing tobacco and alcohol products — which are the biggest preventable causes of ill health and death — is claiming to be interested in health care,” the Guild’s George Tambassis told the ABC.
AMA president Associate Professor Brian Owler has issued a statement claiming the check-ups could put the health of 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,” Mr Owler said.
“It would be dangerous for health checks to be conducted in supermarket aisles by people who are not appropriately trained or qualified.”
A spokesman for Woolworths says the health checks are not meant to replace proper medical advice, but are “just another thing we can do for our customers”.
Would you get a health check at Woolies? Let us know below!