GP practices and pharmacies will be open this weekend including on both bank holidays – but hours may vary.

Primary care services and community pharmacies will be available throughout the Easter weekend, including Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Dr Jeff Schryer, chairman of Bury NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG), is a GP in Prestwich.

He said: “It may be that their opening times are different but they will be providing a normal general practice service.

“In addition, pharmacies are open but it may be that the normal community pharmacies are only open in the afternoon.”

Health and care services are still available during the coronavirus outbreak but many services are working in a different way to help keep them running.

Patients seeking appointments with their GPs may be offered a telephone or video consultation initially, and only be seen face to face if deemed necessary.

Ask My GP, software which allows patients to see their GPs online, is currently being rolled out to all practices across the borough

Dr Schryer said: “This makes it easier to talk or see patients on video consultation. That’s been approved and roll out is starting immediately. In some practices, it’s already been rolled out.”

For some patients a face to face appointment may be their only option, and GPs are also prioritising home visits for those vulnerable patients that have been advised to stay at home and “shield” for many weeks.

Alternatively, some patients might need to go to another local GP practice which has been chosen to provide face-to-face services.

The local health authority has been “stress testing” the system to prepare for the coronavirus crisis worsening.

Contingency plans includes reducing the number of GP practices operating in the borough to just three centres, Dr Schryer revealed.

He said: “If we need to, we will reduce the number of physical sites. We might need to reduce the number of practices to three physical sites in parallel to having the Covid centres.

“But it’s definitely not inevitable. We hope we never have to enact it.”

Prestwich Walk-In Centre is now being used as a Covid-19 Management Service and two more 24-hour coronavirus hubs could be set up in the borough.

A suite on the ground floor of Radcliffe Primary Care Centre could be turned into a Covid Management Service and another hub could be set up in the north of the borough, but a specific location has not yet been identified.

Patients requiring intensive care in the Bury area would be admitted to Fairfield General Hospital.

Dr Schryer added: “Our understanding is the number of ventilators is increasing. We do not have a problem with ventilators within the Northern Care Alliance.”