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GP Surgeries should stay open on Royal Wedding day

Consecutive four day weekends will throw NHS into disarray

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 28 March 2011

GPs are being urged to consider opening their surgeries on the day of the Royal Wedding.

Dr Philip Dyer, president of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) says that patient care could be severely compromised by the two consecutive four day weekends at the end of April.

Several previous studies have shown that hospital death rates are higher for patients admitted outside normal working hours, and during the eleven days from the 22nd April to 2nd May, there will be only three normal working days in numerous NHS trusts.

A survey by SAM has found that many hospitals have no plans to ensure that the care of patients admitted to hospital during this period is not compromised. Closure of GP surgeries and reduction of community services will add to this pressure.

Dr Dyer said: “It is essential that hospitals start to plan for this period; consecutive 4 day weekends will have a major impact on patient care.

“Hospitals need urgently to develop robust plans for this period involving the full range of services, in partnership with general practitioners and other community teams. Hospital Trusts and General Practitioners should aim to run a normal service on the 29th April to minimise the impact of this additional holiday on patient care.” 

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