Local News

NHS Services on May Bank Holidays

There may be changes in the opening times of healthcare services such as GP practices and pharmacies in May due to bank holidays.

Due to the Coronation of His Majesty the King Charles III on Saturday 6 May, an extra bank holiday has been granted on Monday 8 May. As a result, three out of the five Mondays in May 2023 are now termed as a national holiday.  

The dates for Scottish May bank holidays are:

  • Monday 1st
  • Monday 8th
  • Monday 29th May

Bank holidays always affect NHS services and having 3 out of 5 Monday’s in one month being national holidays will mean quite a disruption to how people access medical services.

Gail MacGregor, Associate Director of Nursing and Operations for NHS 24 explained:

“On average, NHS 24 forecast call volumes to increase by 257% on a Monday bank holiday compared to a normal Monday, and we prepare for this in advance to meet the additional demand. However, we wish to remind people that are other great resources out there that can provide the same accurate and trusted health advice as calling 111.

NHS inform and the app NHS 24 Online are digital solutions to get the medical help you need quickly and safely without the need to call 111. Both have online symptom checkers which cover the most common illnesses and ailments, such as lower back pain, flu-like symptoms or urinary tract infections (UTIs). Symptom checkers can also give the appropriate advice fast, such as how to self-manage your symptoms if it is safe to do so, or further information on when and where to seek further medical help.  

“Both platforms also offer access to Scotland’s Service Directory, which lists all health and wellbeing services such as GPs, pharmacies, dentists and optometrists. You can use this to search for services which are closest to you and find out the opening hours and contact information for that service. 

“If you are fortunate enough to enjoy any of the long weekends throughout May, we hope that you are happy and healthy and able to spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Should you really need urgent health advice or support, our team at NHS 24 along with other colleagues in the NHS are here as always to help.” 

NHS Orkney

All GP surgeries will be closed on both the May Day Public Holiday on Monday 1 and Monday 8 May (special public holiday for the Coronation of King Charles III). In an emergency you can contact a GP in the same way as routine evening/weekend cover.

If you are ill when your practice is closed and can’t wait until it reopens, you should call NHS 24 on 111.

Community Pharmacy Arrangements on both May Day Public Holiday on Monday 1 and Monday 8 May:

• Boots Kirkwall: Closed

• Sutherlands Kirkwall: Open 09:00 to 17:30

• Sutherlands Stromness: Closed

• Dounby Pharmacy: Closed

poster on closures

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