Pharmacies in England are required to open between 2pm and 5pm on Friday, May 8 as part of the NHS response to the pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has announced that the fee to be paid to contractors will be the same as it was at Easter, i.e., £250 an hour for a maximum of three hours.

Any pharmacy that is planning to open for longer hours or has been directed locally to open at a different time, should continue to do so, said a Primary Care Bulletin email late on Friday (May 1).

As in the previous Bank Holiday arrangement, local flexibility will be permitted if it is agreed with the NHSE&I regional team. Contractors should notify their regional teams if they are unable to open.

Pharmacies already granted temporary closure do not need to open and notify NHSE&I again.

All contractors should make sure that their Pharmacy NHS 111 Directory of Services (DoS) profiles and entries on the NHS website are correct.

Commenting on the announcement, PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “Since NHSE&I announced its intention to ask all pharmacies to open on the early May Bank Holiday, PSNC had once again been pressing for funding to cover the costs of these openings.

“This is alongside our ongoing negotiations about additional funding for the sector to cover the significantly increased costs of operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As you would expect, we have also been speaking to officials seeking an urgent decision on the second May Bank Holiday which is now rapidly approaching.

“There has been a delay between NHSE&I announcing its intentions to contractors and making this formal announcement, and we hope this can be avoided next time.”

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