Health & NHS
Commemorative bank holiday: Pharmacies asked to liaise with NHSE
Following the announcement that the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth on Monday September 19 will be marked by a bank holiday, it has been confirmed that pharmacies in England may choose to close for the full day or the time of the funeral if they wish, in line with their basic terms of service.
In a letter sent this morning to directors of NHS regions and primary care networks as well as community pharmacies, GP surgeries and dentists, NHS England asked pharmacies to work with local NHS teams to help plan service provision for the day.
NHSE said: “Primary care professionals and their teams will want to pay their respects on this day wherever possible and contractually may be supported to do so with the declaration of the bank holiday.
“NHS England regional teams (and delegated ICBs where applicable) will need to work with dental and community pharmacy providers to confirm available services on the bank holiday, ensuring patients can continue to access urgent dental care and have continuing convenient access to medicines.”
Local pharmacy service provision will be decided “by mutual agreement” between the NHS and contractors, the letter stated.
The PSNC said contractors should consider the needs of their patients, who will “have little time to prepare” for any disruption to their usual care.
“In particular, patients who collect controlled drugs in instalments should be considered,” said the negotiator.
It also urged contractors to consider staff availability, as the likely closure of many schools and childcare facilities will affect childcare arrangements, and to liaise with other contractors in the area “if appropriate” to ensure continued pharmaceutical service provision in the area.
Primary care providers have been asked to keep patients informed of any changes to usual arrangements “by utilising available patient communications, websites and on-site notices,” said NHSE in its letter today.
“It is also important to ensure the Directory of Services is updated accordingly for the bank holiday,” it added.
In particular, providers have been asked to liaise with patients for whom appointments have been booked to confirm whether their appointment will go ahead or be rescheduled.