A doctors’ surgery in the UK is selling apples, oranges and bananas to its patients, staff and to local residents, in a bid to promote healthy eating.

The Margaret Thompson Medical Centre in Speke, Liverpool, is selling 150 pieces of fruit per week at the cost price of 10p (US$0.16) each, helped by a grant from Merseyside Health Action Zone.

The surgery set up the scheme following the launch of the five-a-day initiative to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Practice manager Lesley Eccleston told BBC Online: “Very few shops in the area sell fresh fruit, so this service is proving to be a boon for patients, staff and the community in general.

“We are even finding that young mothers are rewarding children who attend our clinics with fruit, rather than with sweets.”

Dr Kate Arden, director of public health at the South Liverpool Primary Care Trust, which is supporting the scheme, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to encourage a healthy approach to diet and we are delighted to be associated with it.”