Hospital appointments postponed on bank holiday to mark the Queen’s funeral

·7-min read

A number of hospital appointments have been called off due to the bank holiday on Monday to mark the Queen’s funeral.

NHS hospitals in England have been urged to contact all patients with appointments on Monday, whether or not their appointment has been postponed.

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

Hospital trusts are expected to make their own decisions around appointments based on local staffing levels and whether or not local transport will mean patients and staff are unable to attend.

Some patients have expressed concern about their appointments being postponed online.

A letter to all NHS organisations, sent from NHS England on Saturday, states: “For patients with planned appointments that may be affected by the day of the funeral, please ensure they are informed in advance of any changes by utilising direct patient communications.

“Where planned appointments are going ahead it will also be important to confirm this is the case.”

Some hospitals have urged patients to wait to be contacted with news about their appointment.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Following the announcement of the plans for the late Her Majesty The Queen’s state funeral on Monday September 19 2022, some non-urgent planned care appointments/procedures across Bedfordshire Hospitals will be postponed.

“We will contact all relevant patients if their appointment or procedure is to be re-scheduled.

“However we must clarify that both hospitals (Bedford and the Luton and Dunstable) will remain open with urgent planned and unplanned/emergency care continuing as normal.”

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said that “some changes may be made to appointments” due to the bank holiday.

“If this affects your appointment, we’ll contact you as soon as possible to rearrange,” it added.

Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex, which provides reconstructive surgery, burns care and rehabilitation service, said: “Our team is contacting patients with planned appointments or surgery on the day of the Queen’s state funeral (Monday September 19) to make new arrangements.

“Thank you in advance for helping us to make these changes at short notice. Please do not call us, our staff can best work through this if we call you.

“NHS emergency services, including the minor injuries unit at QVH, will continue to work as normal.”

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital also said it would contact patients whose appointments needed to be rearranged.

But the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, which operates cancer services in the Wirral, Aintree and Liverpool, said that services will be operating “as usual”.

“Our clinical services will be open as usual on Monday September 19 2022. This includes outpatient clinics, tests and treatment,” it said in a statement.

“If you would prefer to cancel/postpone your appointment, please let us know ASAP by contacting us via the details in your appointment text or letter.”

Meanwhile the public has been urged to check they have enough medication over the bank holiday.

NHS officials in North East Essex and Suffolk said: “GP practices will be closed on bank holiday Monday September 19 for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

“If you have an appointment booked for that day you will be contacted to reschedule. If you use repeat prescription medicine please check you will have enough to last.”

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

A separate letter, sent by NHS England officials on Monday, told health leaders to ensure there was “sufficient” out-of-hours cover as GPs close on Monday.

It also asked for scheduled Covid booster care home visits to be carried out as planned, and “strongly” encouraged clinics due that day to stay open.

Jo, 30, from Norwich, who did not give her surname, said she felt “incredibly frustrated” after an appointment she had “waited a few months for” was cancelled.

She told the PA news agency: “Well it was an appointment I’d waited a few months for already as my GP service is very busy at the moment, to have some tests done and to start a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test.

“I was going to call them (on Tuesday) to check, but they called me before I got round to it to say sorry but they’re closed and have to cancel. They couldn’t say when they would rebook it as that is done by a different person so I now have no idea when it will be.

“Incredibly frustrated. I get the passing of a monarch is huge for the UK. I’m not a monarchist but I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of anyone who feels the need to mourn or pay their respects.

“(The) thing is, I don’t think the same courtesy is being paid to people who, for whatever reason, don’t want to take part in this proposed period of mourning – or those who do, but who can’t afford the financial/health etc implications that seem to be cropping up with all these cancellations of events, appointments and services like foodbanks.”

A spokesperson for the NHS in England said: “As with any bank holiday, NHS staff will work to ensure that urgent and emergency services, including urgent dental and GP appointments, are available — and patients will be contacted by their local trusts, if necessary, regarding their existing appointments.

“Covid vaccination services, particularly in care homes, are being asked to continue their work given the importance of protecting people ahead of winter and the public should access NHS services in the usual way, including through 111 online or 999 in an emergency.”

Leading nurses called for clarity from the Government as to whether NHS staff in England would be required to work.

Brian Morton, associate director for employment relations at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Ministers need to provide clarity on this as soon as possible. For the Queen’s Jubilee, they failed to provide leadership, leading to uncertainty for staff and confusion for the public.

“Nursing staff will be there to provide core services as they always do on a public holiday. On one of this significance, the public deserve clarity on what services will be available and nursing staff should be paid or have time off in accordance with NHS public holiday terms and conditions.

“We must not see another situation where this is left to NHS Trusts and other NHS organisations locally to navigate. The UK Government should follow the Scottish Government’s lead and confirm that Monday 19th will be treated as a ‘Public Holiday’ in accordance with NHS terms and conditions.”