There may be an ‘increase’ in patients seeking GP appointments following the Queen’s death, NHS England has said.
GPs should also prepare for ‘increased levels’ of DNAs and cancellations during the mourning period with a ‘plan to recover any lost activity’.
In a letter to integrated care boards (ICBs) and NHS ‘provider organisations’ earlier this week, NHS England set out what NHS organisations should ‘consider in their planning’ following the death of the Queen.
It said: ‘There may be an increase in self-presenters across acute settings / primary care / social care / mental health teams and third sector organisations because of the death.’
Organisations should have ‘a robust mechanism which will assess and refer patients as appropriate’, it added.
The letter also said that ‘primary care and NHS organisations may see increased levels of appointment no-shows and/or cancellations, impacting on electives and clinics during the mourning period or funeral day’.
It added: ‘The organisation should monitor these DNAs and have a plan to recover any lost activity as a result.’
NHS England said that ‘providers, particularly in community and mental health’, should ‘be aware that some patients may be destabilised by the death of Queen Elizabeth II and require additional support’.
And it added that the Queen’s death ‘is of particular significance to the Armed Forces community and has the potential to trigger mental health issues within that community’.
NHS staff should familiarise themselves with referral pathways to veterans’ mental health and wellbeing service Op COURAGE, it said.
Yesterday, NHS England told practices that they are ‘contractually able to close’ next Monday for the bank holiday announced to mark the Queen’s state funeral.
But Pulse today revealed that NHS England will not provide any additional funding for GP practices that choose to remain open, for example to cover additional pay for staff.
Doctor leaders around the UK paid tribute to the Queen following her death on Thursday last week.