Practices will not be expected to open on next bank holiday, says NHS England

GP practices will not be expected to open on the second May bank holiday 'unless there is a radical change in circumstances', NHS England has confirmed.

(Photo: Mint Images/Getty Images)
(Photo: Mint Images/Getty Images)

During a webinar on Thursday (7 May), NHS England director or primary care strategy Ed Waller said that it expected practices to be able to follow their 'normal bank holiday setup' on 25 May.

'As things stand, unless there's a radical change in circumstances, we don't think that we'll need to ask practices to to open as though it were a normal working day,' Mr Waller said. 'But there will need obviously to be the sort of cover in place that would normally be there at a bank holiday, and that depends on what local arrangements have been made.'

Later in the webinar NHS England primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani said that practices could 'plan to do what they would normally do on a bank holiday pre-COVID, essentially be closed and directing their care elsewhere'.

Relief for practices

She said she hoped this would be a 'huge sigh of relief' for practices.

Last month NHS England introduced  a number of changes to the GP contract as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the changes, core hours were changed to include the Easter and May bank holidays.

Many practices are open as usual today (8 May). However, the arrangements for today's bank holiday have been locally negotiated with CCGs and practices in some parts of the country have not been required to provide services.

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