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GPs go forth

GPs to open on bank holidays to 'align with rest of NHS'

GP practices in England will need to stay open over the Easter - and possibly May - bank holidays this year as NHS England confirmed they are to be treated as ordinary working days.

In a letter to GPs on the 'emerging Covid-19 situation', NHS England said it would make changes to the GP contract to mean Good Friday and Easter Monday (10 and 13 April) are now to be identified as 'normal working days'.

They added that this could also be the case for the two May bank holidays, but this will not be confirmed until April.

NHS England's letter said: 'Practices and the wider NHS will continue to be under ever-increasing pressure over the coming weeks, including through Easter (10 and 13 April) and, looking forward, to May bank holidays (8 and 25 May).

'We need your help to be prepared and aligned with the rest of the NHS, which will be treating these as ordinary working days and cancelling staff annual leave to ensure services are able to be maintained.

'To enable this, changes to the GP contract coming imminently mean the April dates will now be identified as normal working days for GP practices, so that we can manage demand together. The position for the May bank holidays will be confirmed next month.'

The decision comes as NHS England expects infections from the virus to peak over the period. The BMA said last week that it was working with NHS England on the details of a contractual change to mandate Easter opening.

Readers' comments (17)

  • Red Lines being crossed.Will they reverse this once this is over bet not.What about the funding for primary car no mention at all.Agendas being pushed.

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  • Cobblers

    Just seen a youtube video where a South Korean infective diseases expert is asked what help his doctors needed. He said "Rest".

    Adding four days work to the GPs already hectic schedule strikes me as harsh. GPs are not part of the NHS and there is already a (failing) OOH service to take over for those times.

    So are you going to comply GPs? Is resistance futile? Do you feel for your masters as they heap more work on your shoulders? Or is this the straw that broke the camel's back?

    What they going to do remove your contract? Seriously would you not invite the twats to do just that?

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  • Hahahaha
    How much are they offering?

    And what have those spineless jellies in the BMA got to say about this?

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    Its been a stressful and hectic couple of weeks, but I will be happy to open for the upcoming bank holidays and support the wider NHS family at this exceptional time. Especially if my many self isolating staff can return to work, so i'm no longer having to dispense, blister pack and hoover.
    My biggest frustration is all the grumbles from patients who feel entitled to a letter stating they can have supermarket delivery slots, because they old, or have asthma or take methotrexate and are self isolating. 35% of my practice is "vulnerable", while around 2% are "extremely vulnerable" and in receipt of a letter. How is everyone else managing them all? Should I just have a "vulnerable patient" template letter, tick the box for the reason they are vulnerable and charge them £20 for a copy with their name on it. (free letter for the appropriate extremely vulnerable).

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  • I think they should not compare us with rest of the NHS . NHS staff got their rota they working according to their rota , when duty is finished they can go home and rest , we as GP's working already from 6 AM till 12 PM daily and weekends from surgery and home , now they are asking us tom open on Bank holidays is well ! what about the funding ? we already paying them for the night cover and bankholidays cover in the GMS contract , now asking us to work for free is well !! Also there are problems with NHS property services , GP's operating from NHS health centres who is going tom open and close the centres , and who is going to pay them??

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  • You are aware this has a knock on effect. The BH days are part of leave entitlement. You make them working days the time has to be given elsewhere for employed staff. They also have to be paid. If it's not funded some practices may go bankrupt. You cannot charge for Ooh cover and not re imburse the money for the time covered. That's a breach of contract. You cannot change the contract without consent. You can pay practices who volunteer to do this. Which would be the most sensible way to do this. Those practices who are currently understaffed due to covid could exclude themselves rather than wear out their workforce. Whoever is trying to enforce this en masse is not considering the consequences. Anyone else would just ask us and pay for those that can do it. So why did they not just ask.

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  • What is the BMA saying about this? Unilateral contract changes. What about the staff?

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  • DrRubbishBin

    "NHS England said it would make changes to the GP contract..." really? Covid-19 and the pros and cons of working the bank holiday during this pandemic aside...I just don't understand (and never have) how we could have a 'contract' that can be re-written, edited and expanded at will by the government. That isn't a 'contract' ...is it?? ...and urrr whilst I'm on my soap box, were are the frinking staff tests so proudly announced by the government 'within the week' - nowhere to be seen and, it seems, actually weeks away.

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  • ‘...I just don't understand (and never have) how we could have a 'contract' that can be re-written, edited and expanded at will by the government. That isn't a 'contract' ...is it?? ...’

    Have never understood that either?

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  • As a minimum, they should increase the GMS payment by one day pro rata for each bank holiday they expect us to be open i.e. around 0.4% of the annual GMS payments to practices per extra day!

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