Page last updated at 04:49 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Blood tests taken at Asda store

An ASDA store
The pilot scheme is said to have proved popular

Shoppers at an Asda store in the West Midlands are now able to get a hospital blood test taken as they shop.

The West Bromwich supermarket has teamed up with Birmingham City Hospital and nearby Sandwell Hospital under an NHS pilot scheme.

The blood tests are taken by a qualified phlebotomist, in a location removed from where any food is sold.

Rob Ashley, pathology manager at the hospital, said: "It's really good for the patients, it's about convenience."

The blood samples taken in-store are then sent to the hospitals to be analysed.

The pilot scheme, which began in September, has been funded by Sandwell Primary Care Trust and is being trialled until April.

Any patient within the catchment area, who has a referral letter from their GP, is given the choice to have their sample taken at the supermarket rather than at hospital.

Mr Ashley said the scheme has already proved "popular" with patients.

"Rather than going all the way to the hospital, where they have to pay to park and wait with all the other patients, they can get it done at local sites - like Asda," he said.

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