Sainsbury is planning to open the first supermarket GP centre at its store in Heaton Park, Manchester.

As part of the pilot scheme, the surgery, staffed by three doctors, will offer appointments on Monday and Thursday evenings and for four hours on Saturday.

It is the first phase of a £126,000 pilot by the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust to provide extended-hours medical care and is part of government plans to make health services more accessible.

“The government had made it clear they want more choice for patients and we're happy to support that,” said Gary Eardley, head of pharmacy at Sainsbury's.

Dr Mohammed Jiva, who runs Doctors In Store, the company behind the surgery, added: "Patients' needs are changing and so it's important that we find ways to provide a more flexible and convenient service.”

Asda is also understood to be close to signing a similar deal for a family doctor to operate an out-of-hours clinic at two of its stores, according to The Times.