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‘No plans’ yet to ask pharmacies to open over Easter bank holiday

NHSE&I: Local vaccination sites will still have to operate a seven-day service

There are currently no plans to ask community pharmacies to routinely open over the Easter bank holiday weekend, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has said.

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.

Would you be willing to open your pharmacy over the Easter bank holiday weekend?

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Maybe a idea not to open unless agreed do not have to pay back the 350m then may realise that pharmacy means business as well show the public the importance of ease of getting medication since the internet pharmacies will not be open.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I will open to walk in patients if I can walk in to my GP/CCG Head quarters/Head Office/Dentist, and not before!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I feel there is little need for Pharmacy to be open during the bank holiday weekend, save for the usual emergency provision, considering they have been open this entire pandemic, in my mind what is more important is that staff are given the chance to recharge and rest.

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