Practices in England have been ordered to operate as normal during this weekend’s two bank holidays – raising concerns about extra costs.
The British Medical Association is already pressing for compensation for practices, using holiday time to continue to operate on the bank holidays. It has pointed out that the Scottish government has allocated about £5 million for bank holiday opening during the Covid-19 crisis.
BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GP magazine: “Given the significant effort that will be required of GPs and practice staff, particularly in relation to additional opening hours, it is crucial that practices are compensated appropriately to address this.”
GP leaders urged the public to continue to contact practices by phone. Dr Fiona Lemmens, who chairs the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that this is a really difficult time for everyone, particularly for those with ongoing health conditions. It’s important that people know that their GPs are there to support them over the bank holiday weekend this year.
“During the next few months people will continue to need help with lots of different health problems that aren’t to do with coronavirus. If you need advice or care from your GP practice, then please get in touch by phone first – please don’t visit the practice without speaking to them first. We might be able to give you advice over the phone or via a video conferencing system, but if your GP or nurse decides that you do need to see someone face to face, they will still arrange an appointment for you – either at your own practice, or another one near to where you live.”