COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

We are very grateful to our patients for your understanding at this difficult time and we would like to assure you that we are committed to providing essential services. We would however, sadly, like to take this opportunity to reinforce our Zero Tolerance Behaviour; a small number of patients have been extremely demanding, rude and unpleasant to our team and whilst we understand that patients are concerned and anxious at this time, we cannot tolerate this. Please respect our team. 

If there is anything else that you think would be useful to be included in this FAQ section, then please do not hesitate to contact the practice.

What’s the difference between self-isolating and social distancing?

The NHS 111 website has lots of useful information including Stay at home advice. Social distancing is a newer idea, and a lot of people are unsure what this means, again NHS 111 has some guidance on this – click here

I think I’m in one of the high risk groups and may need to ‘Shield’ for 12 weeks – how will I know?

The first cohort of patients have already been identified and letters have been sent out centrally to these patients. More patients may be identified by other clinicians including our own GPs & hospital consultants; we will contact those patients as soon as possible. Further information and guidance on shielding and those patients who are included in this group is available here.  There is also a Frequently Asked Questions document from NHS England which explains why you may or may not have been included, click on the document below to read in full

Shielding patients FAQs

I’m currently pregnant/have an underlying medical condition which puts me in a higher risk category can you advise me what to do?

We would strongly advise all patients to follow the advice issued by Public Health which is available to view on the 111 website. This guidance is subject to change and will be updated regularly – unfortunately we cannot advise individual patients due to the large numbers involved.  Pregnant ladies can contact the Midwives team for further advice on 0115 8761891. 

Can I request my repeat medication and/or ask for more than my usual supply?

Any repeat medication can be requested up to 7-10 days in advance. We cannot issue any sooner or issue extra quantities as this would create additional pressures on pharmacies and potentially create dangerous medication shortages. Please be aware that pharmacies are experiencing unprecedented levels of requests for medication, so these are taking slightly longer than usual to get through.

I normally buy paracetamol (including Calpol)/cetirizine over the counter but can’t find any in the shops – can I have it on prescription?

Our local guidance is not to prescribe for items that can routinely be bought over the counter. Whilst we are aware of the shortages locally, we understand that many smaller shops and pharmacies do still have stocks and you should continue to try these.

I had an inhaler a few years ago when I had a cough and I’ve heard it might be useful to have one ‘just in case’

Inhalers, and a lot of other medications, are currently in high demand and whilst we appreciate this is a very difficult time and patients are understandably keen to ensure they are prepared, we cannot issue medications just in case. If you need an inhaler and haven’t had one for a while, we can arrange for one of our nurses to call you and complete a telephone review, they will then issue if it is clinically required. Further information is available on the Asthma UK website

Why can’t I bring my prescription request in to the practice and collect from you like I normally do?

To minimise the risk of infection we need to reduce the number of patients coming into the practice on a daily basis. Requests should be submitted online or via the Electronic Prescription Service, if you are unable to use 1 of these methods you can speak to one of our reception staff after 11am. All requests now need to be sent directly to the pharmacy so if you don’t already have a nominated pharmacy, please let us know your preference. Please do not post prescriptions or any other paperwork under the door for risk of passing infections on.

Can I still book an appointment to see the doctor?

Yes – all requests for GP appointments will be added to a list by our reception team. Please be ready to give them a brief reason for your request. This will be added to a telephone triage list, and you will receive a call back as soon as we can; The majority of consultations will be completed over the phone or via a video call. If absolutely necessary you may be asked to attend the surgery for a face-to-face appointment, you will be advised of this during the telephone call.  Please arrive at the allocated time and not before to avoid having to sit in the waiting room. You should attend alone unless you have mobility or other issues which would make this impossible. For a child we would ask that only 1 adult brings them to the appointment.

Can I still book an appointment to see the nurse?

Yes – as with our doctors’ appointments our nurses are trying to do telephone consultations where possible, e.g. asthma and diabetic reviews or pill checks.  Other appointments need to, for obvious reasons, be face-to-face e.g. smears, injections, bloods.  As with doctor appointments please arrive only at the time of your appointment and not before to minimise the time in practice.  If you develop a cough or fever before your appointment, please do not attend.

Can I have a sick note (Med 3) if I am self-isolating?

Patients do not need a Med 3 if they are self-isolating. Self-isolation is a government directive. Employers have discretion as to the requirement for a Med 3 for any period of absence over 7 days and we hope that at this time they will waive the need for Med3’s.  If you are unwell with COVID-19 you can ask 111 for an isolation note.  Please do not contact the practice as we cannot issue these.

I have been off work for over 7 days with a non COVID-19 related health issue – can I still request a Med 3 extension?

Yes – please contact the surgery as usual and we will arrange to send it you via our secure texting facility.

I usually see the health visitor Sherrington Park Medical Practice – will I still be able to?

As this service is hosted by an external provider, we have very reluctantly decided that we are unable to continue with their sessions during the pandemic. If you contact them, they will be able to advise you of the alternative arrangements.

I am waiting for a copy of my medical records/insurance report/letter for my gym that I requested a few weeks ago – do you know when I might receive it?

At this time our priority has to be dealing with the pandemic, so all non-essential activity has been suspended. The Information Commissioners Office has supported this decision and is allowing up to 3 months extension for completion of some reports.

Can I email my questions to the practice?

No – unfortunately we do not have the capacity to respond to large volumes of emails. We do, however, have all staff answering phones during the day and this means that all queries will be dealt with in turn.  If one of our team needs you to send them something e.g. a photo of a rash, then they will advise you to use the practice email, so we need to ensure it is kept manageable for these requests.

Will the practice be staying open indefinitely?

We very much hope that the practice will remain open throughout the pandemic however, as with any organisation we rely on our staff. We have had to make the decision to lock the front door to protect patients and staff so if you are attending an appointment you will need to use the door bell and one of our team will let you in.
Our staff are continuing to deliver the essential services, sadly, we expect that, like many others, we will have staff who need to self-isolate or develop symptoms over the coming days/weeks and our ability to stay open will depend on how many staff are affected not just in our own practice but across our locality and even the City. 

We are working closely with our local CCG to develop plans to ensure continuity of patient care and we will keep patients updated via the website and/or text messaging.