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Easter Opening for General Practice

Publication date: April 2020

As part of regulatory changes to General Practice, Good Friday and Bank Holidays are designated as “core hours”.  The LMC are working with CCGs to clarify the level of delivery required across these periods.  Whilst not all CCGs have confirmed their plans, the LMC is recommending: 

•           Good Friday and Easter Monday – All patients to have access to a total triage service 0800 to 1830 by contacting their own practice number as normal, with the service delivered at PCN level, by phone diversion, as determined by PCN practices. For ERY practices the OOH service will commence at 18:00 as usual and for Hull at 18:30.

•           Easter Saturday and Sunday – Some PCNs and localities have established “Hot clinics” which it is recommended are open on these days. Some CCGs have confirmed that Easter Saturday and Sunday will be covered by the GP Out of Hours service as usual.   

•           Where Out of Hours cover is available through practices or other contractors this can be used to support across the weekend, provided the use of this does not impact on available resources.

•           Funding for staff who will be required in addition to normal staff to provide this cover should be funded through COVID-19 contingency CCG support.

•           Pharmacies will also provide increased opening hours across the bank holiday to support general practice although their opening hours will not match practice opening hours. 

•           The LMC secretariat will be providing support services across the Easter bank holiday. Please contact us in the normal ways.

Update 09/04/2020

NHSE have released an update on reimbursement for additional staffing on these days:

Good Friday and Easter Monday reimbursement rates

Where it is determined that a practice must open on Good Friday or Easter Monday, practices can seek reimbursement for additional staffing costs incurred on these days, in line with the respective rates as set out below. That includes:

• Sessional GPs: up to a maximum of £250 a session or £500 per day;

• Overtime for salaried GPs in line with the individual’s contractual arrangements;

• Additional capacity from GP Partners to recognise up to two additional sessions on each of Good Friday and Easter Monday at a rate of £289 per session plus applicable employer National Insurance and pension costs;

• Overtime for non-GP practice staff in line with the individual’s contractual arrangements.

NHSE's advice is that practices should discuss with their local commissioner the level of service required on bank holidays and agree in advance what additional staffing costs will be reimbursed.

Details of the General Practice COVID support fund will soon be shared, and additional expenses will be considered within this.