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NHSE: Practices should not refer holidaying patients to a local practice

by Jess Hacker
6 August 2021

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Practices should continue to manage their own patients even if they are on holiday in the UK, without referring them to a local practice, NHS England has said.

In its Primary Care Bulletin (5 August), NHSE said that avoiding this extra workload was ‘an important way’ of supporting general practice over the summer period.

As people travel to popular holiday areas in England, local GP practices are placed under ‘increasing pressure to manage the influx’, NHSE told practices.

It said: ‘Managing your own patients when they are on holiday around the country, without referring them to a local practice, is an important way you can support colleagues in general practice this summer.’

It added that patients can be assessed and treated by their own practice by phone or video consultation ‘in most cases’.

Similarly, it said that the message to visitors is ‘to call your own GP at home if you need health care or advice’. However,  the advice for pharmacy use is to visit a local pharmacy.

The warning comes as general practice reaches the end of the first two phases of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The latest data shows that GP sites delivered 4.2 million vaccines in June, while also providing 26.7 million other appointments of which 15 million took place face-to-face.