Health checks in the aisles at Woolworths have been criticised by medical groups as the supermarket giant considers expanding the trial service.
Nurses have been performing free blood pressure and cholesterol checks at nine Woolworths supermarkets since October.
The Australian Medical Association and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia are concerned Woolworths will roll out the service using inexperienced and untrained students and graduates.
“Health care is not something you can just pull off the shelf in a supermarket.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says marketing business XPO Brands, of which Woolworths is a client, has placed an online job ad looking for final year pharmacy students, graduate pharmacists and entry level nurses to conduct checks and to take part in general health discussions.
It said it has received positive feedback from those who have had health checks, with the majority of more than 1,000 surveyed saying they found it valuable.
Even so, conducting health checks in a non-clinical and non-private environment by inexperienced and unsupervised professionals is risky, AMA president Brian Owler says.
“Health care is not something you can just pull off the shelf in a supermarket,” he said.
“Nothing is simple or straightforward when checking a person’s health; not only are the numbers read but they also need to be interpreted.”
Pharmacy Guild spokesman Greg Turnbull said those conducting health tests also don’t have access to the patient’s medical history and were not equipped, like general practitioners, to give advice about medications, side effects and lifestyle factors.