Health minister John Denham has opened the first NHS walk-in centre to be developed through a public-private partnership.

He told guests at the opening ceremony that the centre took the walk-in concept 'a stage further.'

The centre, at Manchester Airport, has been set up by Manchester health authority and South Manchester primary care trust in partnership with the airport company, which provided the premises.

The centre's 18 full-time nurses are employed and managed by the PCT and nurse prescribing is under consideration.

There are two pharmacies on the airport site, which employs 17,000 people.

PCT executive committee chair Dr Bill Pettit said: 'Manchester Airport is a major employer in this area and many of our patients work there.

'They now have a source of information, advice and treatment during working hours, when it would not be easy to take time off to attend surgery.'

Of the 36 pilot walk-in centres due to open this year,30 are now up and running.

They are sited in shopping areas, alongside accident and emergency units or in areas where access to health services is difficult.