It confirms that while GP practices can close, any planned Covid booster vaccinations in care homes should still go ahead, and NHS England has “strongly encouraged” GPs to keep planned vaccine clinics open.
Hospitals will move towards a Sunday service, while pharmacies and dentists will also close unless they have a specific agreement to provide out-of-hours coverage.
Closing core services.
Out-of-hours services have been asked to ensure there is sufficient coverage for the short-notice three-day bank holiday weekend.
The letter reads, “GP practices will be contractually able to close on this day for their core services as it is a confirmed bank holiday.
“ICBs will need to urgently work to ensure sufficient out-of-hours (Integrated Urgent Care) services capacity is in place during what would have been core hours to meet patients’ urgent primary medical care needs.”
The letter added that practices “must ensure that all patients are notified of any cancellations and rescheduling of appointments” and ensure patients are “fully informed of the arrangements”.
“GP practices will also wish to consider rescheduling pre-booked appointments and enabling patients to receive prescriptions, especially repeat medicines, in advance of the bank holiday.”