Public and Bank Holiday Opening 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 each of 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.

Because these bank holidays may vary from year to year, pharmacies need to plan ahead and identify precisely which day is declared as the bank holiday. Where, for example New Years Day and Boxing Day fall at the weekend there may be substitute days declared, meaning that the pharmacy might have to open on the 26 December / 1 January where these fall on a weekend.


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 factsheet for 2019 was published in the July 2018 CPN and is available to download here.