As you will be aware, HM Government have declared an additional bank holiday on Monday 19 September, which coincides with the State Funeral for HM Queen Elizabeth II.
As a healthcare organisation, closing clinical diaries with such short notice can create substantial distress for our patients. This is particularly the case with patients undergoing complex courses of treatment, where difficulties in rescheduling can introduce significant delay and have knock on effects with other aspects of treatment.
This situation is very different to the Jubilee bank holiday, where our diaries were never opened having had significant notice of the additional break.
HM Government have also made clear that they expect organisations to reach their own decision about whether to remain open or close.
As a healthcare organisation, our primary duty is to the welfare of our patients. Accordingly, we propose to remain open on Monday 19 September. We therefore propose to honour existing appointments.
You may of course prefer not to attend your appointment, which is entirely understandable. If this is the case, we simply ask that you contact us as soon as possible. We’d be very grateful if you could text us on 07700 164956 in preference to calling, allowing our Customer Care Team to manage all patients promptly. Please note, our Terms of Business apply in respect of cancelling your appointments.
If you wish to attend your appointment, you do not need to do anything. Our Customer Care Team may try to reach you to confirm it, but you should attend as normal unless you have cancelled with us.
Our policy is to provide staff with paid leave for bank holidays, so we are also pleased to provide our staff with an additional day off in lieu for use in the future.
Finally, if a significant number of patients do not wish to attend we will review our diaries accordingly. In this case, we reserve the right to amend our schedules. In doing so, we’ll do our best to balance the wants of our patients and staff with the need to provide a healthcare service where possible.
This is not a straightforward decision which we have not taken lightly. We are very grateful for your support, and our very best wishes extend to all affected by the death of Her Majesty.