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Warning over royal wedding closures

By Laura Passi

GP practices should consider remaining open over the extra bank holiday for the royal wedding next month to avoid adding to the extra pressure on hospitals over that period, say experts.

The Society for Acute Medicine has issued a statement warning that there needs to be a ‘robust plan' in place to cover the two consecutive four day weekends in April.

Several previous studies have shown that hospital death rates are higher for patients admitted outside normal working hours and the society says that the closure of GP surgeries will add to the pressure on hospitals already facing staffing pressures.

Dr Philip Dyer, President of the Society for Acute Medicine said: ‘It is essential that hospitals start to plan for this period; consecutive four day weekends will have a major impact on patient care.

‘GPs and hospital trusts should aim to run a normal service on the 29th April to minimise the impact of this additional holiday on patient care,' Dr Dyer added.

However, official advice from the GPC states that on the 29th of April, ‘all practices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should put in place their normal arrangements for bank/public holidays on that date.'

‘Bank holidays are out-of-hours periods in the NHS (General Medical Services Contracts) (England and Wales) Regulations 2004 and NHS (Personal Medical Services Agreements) Regulations 2004. Public holidays are out-of-hours periods in the Health and Personal Social Services (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004.

'Due to the different wording of the Scottish contractual regulations practices in Scotland should await guidance from SGPC before taking any action.'

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