Thousands face cancelled NHS appointments due to Queen’s funeral

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Thousands of hospital and GP appointments have been canceled due to the public holiday around the Queen’s funeral on Monday.

Many hospitals have to postpone outpatient appointments and planned operations due to reduced staffing, while most GP surgeries will also be put off.

NHS hospitals in England have been urged to contact patients who may be affected, whether or not their appointment has been postponed.

Some hospitals have said they will operate as usual, while others have said they will postpone some non-urgent appointments.

Meanwhile, NHS leaders have called on the government to clarify whether all NHS staff in England will be required to work and whether they will be entitled to the usual higher rates of pay for public holidays.

Dr Layla McKay, policy director at the NHS Confederation, said: “While frontline health and care workers are given different rates of pay for working bank holidays, NHS leaders await confirmation from the government that this additional cost will be covered. Will be compensated. Full.”

Hospital trusts are expected to make their decisions about appointments based on local staffing levels and local transport will mean patients and staff will not be able to attend.

Some patients and doctors have expressed concern over the postponement of their appointments.

a doctor told independent: “I have the greatest respect for the Queen … but when patients are waiting for two years … really?”

University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) sources said the trust was canceling outpatient appointments but emergency and “critical” services would continue.

In an email to staff, Sandwell and the West Birmingham Hospital Trust (SWBH) said planned immediate cancer operations would go ahead provided staffing levels were “safe”.

All other planned non-urgent primary care, planned procedures and outpatient appointments will be rescheduled, the message said. Both UHB and SWBH told employees that they would get increased rates for working on bank holidays.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital FT said emergency, urgent and cancer operations would continue, but added: “A way to allow as many staff as possible to participate in the bank holiday and to watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.” Less regular service will also be provided.”

A GP leader in London said practice staff were now getting “abused” when the bank holiday was closed.

Meanwhile, patients were urged to check that they had enough medicine. NHS officials in North East Essex and Suffolk said: “GP practices will remain closed on the bank holiday on Monday 19 September for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

“If you have booked an appointment for that day you will be contacted for rescheduling. If you use prescription medication frequently, please check that you will have enough to last.”

Oxford Health NHS said: “Patients in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West are being reminded to order repeat prescriptions in time for the coming bank holiday weekend.”

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists said the trainee doctors have to take the exam on Monday, so it will have to be postponed until January. In a statement, it said the venues used for the exams would be closed and cancellation would have a “significant” impact and would be “disruptive” for doctors.

The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.

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