Thousands of NHS appointments have been cancelled on Monday the day of the Queen’s state funeral. Patients have reported that cancer, cardiology and maternity appointments have been posponed due to the Bank holiday.
Urgent care will go ahead but NHS bosses have written to GP surgeries and pharmacies to tell them that they can close so their staff can “pay their respects.”
Hospitals have been told to “amend services as they deem necessary” and contact patients with an appointment on Monday to let them know whether they will take place.
Healthcare bosses have asked the Government for confirmation that they will fund bank holiday pay for doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff who do work.
However, according to Government guidelines, there is “no statutory entitlement to time off as it is a matter for discussion between individuals and their employer”.
NHS bosses have also said that practical considerations have given no option but to cancel many appointments.
With school due to close on Monday many staff have no alternative childcare arrangements.
There are also fears that in London where large trusts have cancelled most planned appointments patients will struggle to get to hospitals due to gridlocked roads.
Doctors have warned that the last minute bank holiday created a “logistical nightmare”.
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“If the schools are closed at short notice it is quite hard to ask parents to work.”
Dr Neil Stone an infectious diseases specialist at UCL said that the Bank Holiday would be an organisational nightmare for the health service.
He said: “I think a bank holiday is right on the day of the funeral.
“It’s a momentous historical occasion.
“But it’s a logistical nightmare for many, especially in the NHS.”