The national commissioner will “keep this position under review, subject to the changing demands of the pandemic”, it said in a bulletin to NHS primary care teams last night (February 16).
Commissioners should liaise with providers to “ensure sufficient cover arrangements are in place” to meet local health needs over the bank holiday weekend, it added.
Local vaccination services will instead need to provide a seven-day service “where necessary… including bank holidays”. More details will follow soon, according to NHSE&I.
“We are extremely grateful to those who will be working over the Easter weekend, but hope that everyone will be able to benefit from additional rest days,” NHSE&I wrote.
Last year, NHSE&I asked all community pharmacies to open a few hours on Good Friday and Easter Monday, a decision it communicated to the sector seven days before the first bank holiday.
At the time, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee distanced itself from this decision, which it said “has been made unilaterally” by NHSE&I.
Pharmacies were later told that they could claim up to £1,500 for the extra hours during which they stayed open over the Easter bank holiday.