On Monday 19 September 2022 the UK is having a bank holiday to mourn and commemorate Queen Elizabeth II who reigned for 70 years. This official bank holiday extends to GP services who will be allowed to close for the day on the Queens funeral. NHS England wrote a letter (“The Letter”) to GPs on 11 September 2022, saying while GP services will be able to close on the bank holiday, but there needs to be enough out-of-hours care.
What did The Letter say?
The Letter also asked for scheduled COVID-19 booster care home visits to be carried out as planned. The Letter to hospitals in NHS England also said it expected a rise in patients not turning up for clinics. There have been reports of some hospitals in England and other parts of the UK cancelling routine treatments due to take place on the day of the funeral too. The Letter to hospitals, signed by NHS England’s chief operating officer Sir David Sloman, said NHS trusts should also have a method to identify overseas visitors and therefore make plans to manage this and make sure they are charged “appropriately”. The Letter said GP practices would be contractually able to close their core services on Monday as it’s a confirmed bank holiday. However, The Letter added that local health boards would need to:
“Urgently work to ensure sufficient out-of-hours services capacity is in place”.
The letter also said NHS England areas should look at rescheduling cancelled appointments and making sure patients can pick up prescriptions in advance.