Practices can close on royal wedding holiday

GPC deputy chairman warns practices may have to make up extended hours sessions at a later date.

Wedding day: no financial penalty (Photograph: Rex Features)
Wedding day: no financial penalty (Photograph: Rex Features)

Practices across the UK should not be financially penalised or prevented from closing on the 29 April royal wedding bank holiday, the GPC has said.

Some Scottish practices have volunteered to remain open to support out-of-hours services.

But where practices close, the GPC warned that primary care organisations, not practices, were responsible for 'resolving financial issues with contracted out-of-hours providers'.

GPC guidance says all practices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should put in place their normal arrangements for bank holidays on the royal wedding day.

GMS and PMS contracts state that bank holidays should be treated as out-of-hours periods, the guidance says. GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'This should be treated like any other bank holiday - 29 April will be the day GPs get their bunting out.'

But he pointed out that GPs opted in to provide out-of-hours services remain responsible for out-of-hours.

Dr Vautrey also said that closing on 29 April could have implications for extended hours work, but this would depend on whether practices provide the service under a directed enhanced service (DES) or local enhanced service (LES) deal.

He said: 'The DES makes reference to extended hours being provided on another day if extended hours arrangements fall on a bank holiday. If practices provide extended hours under a LES there may be different arrangements.'

Meanwhile, guidance from the Scottish government said practices will be closed on 29 April 'unless there is a compelling case to the contrary'.

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