NHS hospital and GP appointments in England postponed on bank holiday to mark the Queen’s funeral
Some hospitals in England will postpone non-urgent appointments on bank holiday Monday for the Queen’s funeral
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Other hospitals and GPs say they will be operating as usual on the day of the state funeral.
It comes after NHS England wrote to GPs informing them they are permitted to close on Monday to mark the bank holiday, with health leaders told to ensure there was “sufficient” out-of-hours cover.
The letter also asked for scheduled Covid booster care home visits to be carried out as planned, and “strongly” encouraged clinics due that day to stay open.
Hospital trusts are expected to make their own decisions around appointments based on local staffing levels and whether or not local transport will mean patients and staff are unable to attend.
A letter to all NHS organisations, sent from NHS England on Saturday, states: “For patients with planned appointments that may be affected by the day of the funeral, please ensure they are informed in advance of any changes by utilising direct patient communications.
“Where planned appointments are going ahead it will also be important to confirm this is the case.”
‘Patients should wait to be contacted’
Some hospitals have urged patients to wait to be contacted with news about their appointment, saying they will be informed if appointments or procedures will be rescheduled.
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that some non-urgent planned care appointments/procedures across Bedfordshire Hospitals will be postponed for the Queen’s funeral on Monday, and affected patients will be contacted.
The trust added that both hospitals - Bedford and Luton and Dunstable - will remain open with urgent planned and unplanned/emergency care continuing as normal.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said that “some changes may be made to appointments” due to the bank holiday, while Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex, which provides reconstructive surgery, burns care and rehabilitation service, said it is contacting patients with planned appointments or surgery on the day of the Queen’s funeral to make new arrangements.
The Sussex Hospital said that NHS emergency services, including the minor injuries unit at QVH, will continue to work as normal.
Elsewhere, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, which operates cancer services in the Wirral, Aintree and Liverpool, said that services will be operating “as usual”.
It said in a statement: “Our clinical services will be open as usual on Monday September 19 2022. This includes outpatient clinics, tests and treatment.
“If you would prefer to cancel/postpone your appointment, please let us know ASAP by contacting us via the details in your appointment text or letter.”
The public has also been urged to check they have enough medication over the bank holiday.
NHS officials in North East Essex and Suffolk said: “GP practices will be closed on bank holiday Monday September 19 for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
“If you have an appointment booked for that day you will be contacted to reschedule. If you use repeat prescription medicine please check you will have enough to last.”
Oxford Health NHS added: “Patients across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West are being reminded to order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time for the coming bank holiday weekend.”
A spokesperson for the NHS in England said that NHS staff will work to ensure that urgent and emergency services, including urgent dental and GP appointments, will be available on Monday, adding that patients will be contacted by their local trusts, if necessary, regarding their existing appointments.
The spokesperson added: “Covid vaccination services, particularly in care homes, are being asked to continue their work given the importance of protecting people ahead of winter and the public should access NHS services in the usual way, including through 111 online or 999 in an emergency.”