Primary care services will remain open during the May public holidays, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed.
Funded by £8.2 million from the Scottish Government, GP services and community pharmacies have been asked to remain open on the May public holidays, with NHS 24 operating with an increased number of call handlers.
Ms Freeman has praised the response and dedication of healthcare staff across the country who are ensuring people can continue to access services during the pandemic.
“Health and social care staff are already working incredibly hard to look after people during this pandemic, and I want to thank each and every one of them for their ongoing commitment and dedication during this unprecedented time.
“Last month we asked GP services to remain open during the Easter holidays and once again, we have asked them to do the same for the May public holidays.
“Community pharmacies will also be open so they can continue to provide advice and treatment through the extended Minor Ailment Service for minor illnesses and common conditions. We have also taken steps to ensure NHS 24 can continue to meet the increase in demand.”
Director of Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland commented:
“Community pharmacy teams have demonstrated exceptional commitment throughout this pandemic to support the public. The public holiday contribution and cost has again been recognised for May by the Scottish Government, and while we realise this is an additional ask after a challenging time, we appreciate the recognition from Scottish Government in the role community pharmacies perform within the health service.”
Dr Andrew Buist, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, said:
“Practices and out of hours services are working under increased pressure during this pandemic and I am extremely grateful to GPs across Scotland who are all willing to put in the extra work that is needed to help the NHS fight this virus. During this unprecedented time, GPs have been asked to keep their practices open over public holidays and, as we have witnessed recently over the Easter weekend, patients have been receptive to these changes and how we have adapted. The BMA was also clear that this needed to be supported by the Scottish Government and we welcome the funding put in place to make this happen.
“It is very important for patients to know their NHS is open for non-COVID-19 related health concerns, and they should always contact their GP if they have any worries. General practice is part of the protective ring around Scotland’s hospital system as we fight this pandemic. I am proud of how quickly GPs have responded to these challenging times with flexibility and ingenuity. There is a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and we should continue to work together with clear thinking and strong leadership.”
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