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NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) may ask community pharmacies to remain open on May 8th bank holiday.

Community pharmacies remained open on Good Friday and Easter Monday between 02.00 pm and 05.00 pm.

NHSE&I is once again keen to ensure that the public have appropriate access to pharmaceutical services during the bank holiday on May 8.

Ed Waller, NHSE&I director of primary care strategy and NHS contracts said NHS will “give people more notice, I’m determined, than we managed to last time about opening at Easter” and that current thinking is that “we need more than the number of pharmacies we’d usually have on a bank holiday open.”

Discussions between NHSE&I and PSNC about the level of provision needed began almost immediately after Easter, with PSNC pressing for a decision to be made as soon as possible.

It is expected that NHSE&I will treat the upcoming May 8 bank holiday in the same manner as the Easter holidays as GP practices will again be open for business as usual.

However, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has requested that any clarifications on flexibility – given late for Easter – are set out with the announcement to help contractors and NHSE&I regional teams.

Gordon Hockey, PSNC’s director of pperations and support, said: “PSNC is in discussion with NHSE&I about pharmacy provision on the bank holidays in May. We are seeking terms similar to those put in place for Easter and have requested that a decision is made as soon as possible because contractors have limited time to make the necessary staffing arrangements.”

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