The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is slamming a Woolworths proposal, stating their idea for in-store health checks could create medical negligence and put patients at risk.
It is understood that Woolworths is going to use the services of pharmacy students, graduating pharmacists, and nurses to conduct basic health checks in store. Procedures such as blood pressure and cholesterol tests could be some of the procedures offered to shoppers alongside their milk and bread.
On the surface, the idea could be beneficial to supply relevant information to those who don’t regularly go to their doctor, however, AMA President and Associate Professor Brian Owler believes it isn’t that simple to determine someone’s medical health.
“In the proposed Woolworths environment, there would be no access to patient history and there would be no privacy,” he said.
“It would be dangerous for health checks to be conducted in supermarket aisles by people who are not appropriately trained or qualified.”
As the checks wouldn’t occur in safe or clinical environment, Mr Owler explains the situation could be confusing for patients and make them believe a trip to the doctor isn’t necessary.
“The people conducting the checks would not have the knowledge or experience to advise people about lifestyle factors, medications, side effects, or related conditions,” he said.
“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.”
According to Mr Owler, Australia already has a quality primary health care system that is built on the foundations of good general practice and qualified GPs.
“Good health is not something that you can pick off a supermarket shelf,” he concluded.
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