Bank Holiday Rota Service (East Area Team)

Bank Holiday Rotas

Bank Holiday closures and contractual requirements

A pharmacy must open to provide pharmaceutical services for its core contractual and supplementary hours each week. But, where the pharmacy would ordinarily be open on a day which is Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day or a bank holiday, the hours that it would ordinarily be open will, on those days, be treated as having been open for the purpose of counting the core contractual hours that week. This means a pharmacy that has 8 core contractual hours on Monday to Friday, will, during the week leading up to Easter, be open for 8 hours on Monday to Thursday making 32 hours in total, and may close on Good Friday, because the 8 hours that the pharmacy is ordinarily open on a Friday are counted towards the 40 hours requirement, irrespective of whether the pharmacy is open. These are straightforward provisions, but the way that bank holidays are declared does cause some anomalies.

In England, the days that a pharmacy will not normally be required to open are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May Bank Holiday
  • Spring Bank Holiday
  • Summer Bank Holiday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

On these days, the core contractual hours at the times at which it would have ordinarily been open are counted towards the core contractual requirement without the pharmacy having to open on those days and at those times.

The NHS Regulations provide that Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas day are always treated in this way. But, for the other days, the status of the day depends on whether it has been formally declared as a bank holiday – or whether a substitute day has been introduced. Up to date information can be found on the Government’s business website.

Early May Bank Holiday 2020 – The Government announced in June 2019 that it is pushing back next year’s Early May Bank Holiday by a few days to Friday 8th May 2020. In practice this means that next year community pharmacies must open on 4th May 2020 for their usual Monday opening hours, but are permitted to be closed on Friday 8th May without giving notice or applying to change their core hours.

PSNC’s annual opening hours factsheet provides contractors with a quick reference guide on which public and bank holidays pharmacies can close without giving notice. The 2020 factsheet has just been published at:

PSNC Guides

PSNC has produced the following guides for contractors:

PSNC Briefing 025/19: Contract Factsheet – Pharmacy opening hours in 2020 (July 2019)

Bank holiday Rota

The NHS England Primary care Team commission Pharmacy cover for Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday where there is a need. This provision is paid for by NHS England and is provided by willing pharmacies who offer to open. Many pharmacies choose to open over bank holiday for business reasons although there is no contractual requirement to open. These pharmacy opening times are utilised wherever possible so that NHS England can endeavour to provide acceptable patient care and access to medicines cost effectively across the East Anglia.

Pharmacy Bank holiday rota door posters are produced to show the cover provided in each of the areas . The posters are made available on the NHS England Midlands and East Website having first been shared and discussed with relevant Health Care Professionals across East Anglia and bordering areas. The pharmacy rota information is also used in any press releases issued by NHS England to media outlets and enquires about opening times over the holiday period.

Rota Door Posters

The latest Suffolk and Norfolk Pharmacies (including Great Yarmouth and Waveney) Bank holiday rota door posters will be displayed on the NHS England website link below:

Please ensure that the Door Posters are printed and displayed in a prominent position to ensure that they are visible to patients outside of the pharmacy at all times. 

NHS England Midlands & East (East) have produced a ‘Resource Guide’ document for our pharmacies. You can view it here: