The MDDUS (the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) says many practices will be closed for Good Friday and Easter Monday leaving patients relying on out-of-hours services.
It is advising GPs to send out-of-hours providers information, subject to the patient’s consent, on ‘patients of note’ including those who are receiving palliative care or those with complex physical and mental health conditions.
MDDUS medical adviser Dr Barry Parker said: ‘Patients receiving palliative care or those with complex physical and mental conditions may be particularly difficult to manage in an out-of-hours setting where little or no records are available.
‘Vital details can be forwarded to the out-of-hours service in advance, providing, of course, that patients consent to this.’
He also advises practices inform patients of Easter opening times during appointments, via the notice board in the waiting room, in the practice newsletter or on the its website.
Dr Parker added: ‘Prescription counterslips can also carry a special notice, so that patients can make sure they have adequate supplies of repeat medication.
‘Practices should also be vigilant in relation to any abnormal result handling on the day before the holiday begins, given the four-day gap before normal service resumes.
‘This is an area where problems and complaints may arise, particularly in relation to warfarin results or electrolyte abnormalities that may need dealt with more urgently.’