NHSE gives 'fair warning' on May bank holiday opening
NHS England & Improvement has said more pharmacies may be required to open on this yearâ€™s May Bank holidays than in normal circumstances, though talks are still ongoing.
In a webinar for community pharmacy contractors last night, NHSE&I primary care strategy director Ed Waller said the data from this yearâ€™s Easter bank holidays indicated that on May 8 and 25 â€œwe will be in a position where we need more than the usual number of pharmacies to be open over the bank holidays, something akin to Easterâ€.
The number of scripts processed on Good Friday and Easter Monday was not at a â€œnormal level,â€ Mr Waller said, explaining there had been a significant spike. This, along with input from representative bodies in the sector, is â€œguiding our decision makingâ€ he said.
Giving â€œfair warning to contractorsâ€ that many would probably be required to open to the public, he said NHSE&I would â€œseek to agree what is sensible in the same way we did around Easterâ€ but because talks with PSNC are ongoing he was â€œnot in a position to say today what the precise answer isâ€.
Pharmacies in England were required to open for three hours on Good Friday and Easter Monday this year at a rate of Â£250 an hour (Easter opening claims may now be made via the NHS BSA web portal), though some were able to seek exemptions from their local NHSE&I team.
There was widespread frustration at the late announcement of Easter opening requirements and at the lower rate that was initially offered. Mr Waller said NHSE&I was seeking to give more notice for the May bank holidays.
In the webinar, NHSE&I officials thanked pharmacies for their efforts over the Easter holidays and said their services had been â€œvery helpful to patientsâ€.