St Marys Surgery

This page has been set up to provide St Mary's patients with all they need to know about important announcements and surgery changes during the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. It is updated regularly.

You can also find more information on our FAQ page - see tab above.


Please see our latest workplace COVID-19 risk assessments below (July 2020):

Changes in rules regarding face coverings

The law on the wearing of face coverings in England changed on Friday 24 July. As well as on public transport, people are required to wear a face covering in shops and other enclosed public spaces.
 
For your own protection and safety, that of other patients and the NHS staff who are caring for you, we encourage anyone attending the surgery to wear a face mask or face covering.
 
Thank you for your cooperation with this.

We know that some people are unable to wear a face covering because of a disability or severe distress, and the government has made provision for people not to have to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
young children under the age of 11
not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
to eat or drink, but only if you need to
to take medication
if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering.
 
More details on government advice about face coverings can be found here.

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication.
 
If you think you may be exempt or are unable to wear a face covering for health reasons, you can download and print off exemption cards to carry with you.
 
PLEASE NOTE: 
St Mary’s Surgery is not obliged to provide you with a letter exempting you from wearing a face mask due to certain health issues. This is because a letter is not needed. Any patient can print their own exemption card.  .

Date updated: 31.7.20

Update for St Mary's surgery patients

Please ONLY come to the surgery if you have a confirmed appointment or are collecting a prescription you know is ready.

Please only arrive a few minutes before your appointment time. This will enable the surgery to continue practising social distancing and help keep all our patients safe.

At the door ALL patients will be screened, including having their temperature taken.

We encourage patients to wear a face covering, where possible, when attending the surgery.

If you have an administration-related enquiry, do not come to the surgery. Please ring us and we’ll do our best to help you.


Updated 9.6.20

Testing for coronavirus
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you can ask to be tested to check if you have the virus. Please visit the government's ask for a test page.

If you have questions about a test you've booked or are having trouble booking a test, you can call the customer contact centre on 119. The call centre is open from 7am to 11pm and is free from mobiles and landlines. More help can be found here.

Updated 3.6.20

Coronavirus tests

We are hearing a lot from the government and scientists on the types of tests available for coronavirus, and as we learn more about the virus, new tests are being developed and trialled. There are still a lot more questions than answers. Image courtesy of Science Photo Library
 
Currently there are two types of tests for COVID-19.
 
1. Swab test, also called the antigen test
 
The swab test ONLY tests for whether you currently have coronavirus.
You can request to be tested if you or a member of your household are showing symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
The swab test is available to all adults and children over the age of five 
You need to have the test in the first 5 days of having symptoms
The test involves taking a swab sample from the nose or from the back of the throat
If your test results are positive, you and your household must follow government guidance for self-isolation
If your test results are negative, you can safely return to work, as long as you are well enough, you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours, and that anyone living in your household also tests negative
Find out more about the swab test.
 
2. Antibody test
 
The antibody test checks to see if you have had coronavirus in the past and shows if you may have developed some kind of immunity
It is a blood test, not a swab test
This test is not widely available yet. The government is rolling it out to health and social care staff, patients and care home residents first
However, even if the test shows that a person has some antibodies, there are still questions about how long immunity lasts and, currently, there is no evidence that people with antibodies cannot be infected again 
There also remain questions about if a person with antibodies can be a carrier or transmitter of coronavirus, even if they don’t catch it again themselves
Currently the value of the antibody test is limited to answering the question of whether a person has had the virus and in providing data and a greater understanding on the spread of the virus
Find out more about the plans for the antibody test.  
 
Date created 22.5.20
 

St Mary's is supporting key COVID-19 research study

St Mary’s practice is supporting vital COVID-19 research. As part of this, we are helping to carry out a national priority research study called PRINCIPLE.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, are aged 65 or over, OR are aged 50-64 and have an existing health condition, you may be eligible to join this important study.

If you'd like to discuss taking part in PRINCIPLE, please contact us

If you'd like to know more about COVID-19 research and how you can contribute, please visit the Be Part of Research site, which is run by the National Institute for Health Research.

Date created: 20.5.20
 

Coronavirus testing for key workers showing symptoms

The Government has announced that all key workers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19 will now be able to get tested.

Essential workers will be able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough.

Find out more about the self-referral test here.


Date created: 24.4.20


Minor Injuries Unit remains open

The Minor Injuries Unit at the Princess of Wales Hospital remains open for patients with injuries that need attention but are not critical or life threatening.

The unit is open from 8.00am-10.00pm with x-ray facilities open from 8.00am-8.00pm seven days a week. They will see injuries up to two weeks old.

Minor injuries include:
•             sprains, strains, cuts and grazes
•             arm, foot and leg injuries
•             bites, minor burns and scalds
•             broken bones
•             minor head injuries
•             eye problems, such as scratches and foreign bodies in the eye.


Date created:  22.4.20


Advice for parents worried about children's illness during coronavirus

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured.

Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done.

Use this poster from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
 to find out what to do if your child is unwell.

Date created: 20.4.20



Local support for those self-isolating or in a vulnerable group

Are you self-isolating? Are you in a vulnerable group? Do you need help with shopping or simply a friendly voice to talk to?

East Cambs District Council has set up a COVID-19 coordination hub. The hub is there to support people who need it. You can call  them on 01353 665555 from Mon-Fri between 9.00am-4.00pm or email if that's easiier for you.

The hub will also connect those who want to volunteer in Ely and our local communities. Find out more here.


Date created: 8.4.20


Order your repeat prescription online

It’s easy to order your repeat medication online. If you are already registered with SystmOnline, order that way. If you are not and wish to order online, please download the NHS app and follow the on screen instructions to register. Use the App Store for I phone or Google Play for android.

    

Please note you have to be aged 13 or over to be able to register for the NHS app.
If you are unable to order your repeat prescription online, click here to download a request form.   
You should complete the form and return it to us - either by post or by email. Please allow a minimum of five working days before collecting your medication.

Date updated: 2.4.20


New patient registration during Coronavirus pandemic

St Mary’s Surgery has introduced the new process for patient registration. Anyone wishing to register as a new patient at St Mary’s Surgery must complete the following steps.
 
Ring the surgery to let us know you wish to register. They will advise you of the process. 
 
There are two forms to complete: the GMS1 form and the patient questionnaire.
Download them from the links below.  
 
Please ensure you complete each section of the form fully in order for your registration to be completed. You should sign and date both forms.
 
Patients should complete both forms for each member of your family you are registering.
 
If you wish to register a child under the age of 13 (who is not a new born), please advise the surgery when you first make contact with us. St Mary’s will confirm the process for verifying your child’s identity.
 
If you are registering a new born child, please only complete the GMS1 form.
 
Once you’ve completed the forms, please scan or take a photo of them and email them to the surgery
 
Turnaround time to process your forms is ten working days.
 
Once your registration has been completed, the surgery will contact you to confirm your identity (ID). We do this via the NHS App.  You can find the App here.​​ The NHS App enables your ID to be verified without you coming to the surgery.
 
Once you’ve registered on the App you will also be able to order your repeat prescriptions.
 
Please DO NOT register for the NHS App before St Mary’s has contacted you to confirm your patient registration as this will delay your registration.

Any questions? Please do contact the surgery. Staff will be able to help you register.

Click here for the GMS1 form

Click here for the patient questionnaire form

Date created: 31.3.20

 

Blood pressure readings

A home blood pressure diary can be downloaded below and the completed diary emailed to the surgery. Please DO NOT use this email address for any other purpose

Click here to download your blood pressure readings diary

Date updated: 30.3.20


New opening hours for dispensary and Lloyds Pharmacy
Please note the opening hours for both St Mary's dispensary and Lloyds Pharmacy are:

  • Open from 8.30am-1.00pm
  • Closed from 1.00pm-2.00pm
  • Open from 2.00pm-5.30pm

Lloyds Pharmacy is also open from 6.30pm-8.00pm on Monday and Wednesday and open Saturday 10.00am-4.00pm.

Please order your medication 10 days before you are due to run out and allow a minimum of 5 working days before collecting your medication.

Patients collecting prescriptions from the dispensary or from Lloyds Pharmacy should only attend the surgery to collect medication when they expect it to be ready. Please note there may be a wait for you to collect as we need to limit the amount of people coming onto the premises.

Date updated: 26.3.20



Childhood immunisations in the light of Covid-19

Baby vaccinations are important

It’s important that if you’ve received a letter inviting your child for their vaccinations that you ring the surgery to arrange an appointment. Please remember routine childhood vaccinations save lives. 

Childhood vaccination appointments will now take place between 12 noon and 2.00pm.

In the light of COVD-19 if you, your child or a member of your family has a NEW persistent cough or raised temperature (above 37.8 degrees), please follow the stay at home guidance and DO NOT come to the surgery. However, once the 14 days have passed, it is important you do contact St Mary’s to arrange your immunisation appointment.


Please remember routine childhood immunisations boost your child's immunity against multiple diseases.

Date updated: 13.3.20

Coronavirus / COVID-19 guidance


A link to the easy read version of the government guidance on Coronavirus / Covid 19 is available here.

The government’s coronavirus guidance has been translated to help those whose first language is not English. Read it in your own language here.


Date updated: 3.4.20

Coronavirus / COVID-19 - Information for all patients

If you have a NEW persistent cough and / or a high temperature, however mild, stay at home and self isolate for 7 days - See gov.uk for information on how to self isolate.

The surgery does NOT need to be informed and you do NOT need to contact 111 if your symptoms are mild. Patients will NOT get tested and GP surgeries cannot arrange testing.
 
If your symptoms continue to worsen, you should use the NHS 111 online symptoms checker. If you do not have online access or feel more unwell, contact NHS 111 and NOT St Mary's Surgery.  


Only come to the surgery if you have a confirmed appointment or are collecting medication from Lloyds Pharmacy or our dispensary.

Repeat medication can be ordered online or by posting your repeat slip through the letterbox at the front of the surgery

Read the full statement from the surgery 
here.

See below for more information from the NHS on coronavirus/COVID-19:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

NHS 111 Online -  https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19


Date created: 19.3.20
 

Coronavirus COVID-19



 
Frequently asked questions

This document aims to address the most frequently asked questions patients have about St Mary’s Surgery and changes of practice due to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.

Created: 23 March 2020                                                                Updated: 19 May 2020


 
Surgery telephone – 01353 663434

Dispensary opening hours – 8.30am-1.00pm, 2.00pm-5.30pm  

Lloyds Pharmacy opening hours – 8.30am-1.00pm, 2.00pm-5.30pm. Also open from 6.30pm-8.00pm on Monday and Wednesday and open Saturday 10am-4pm.

Dispensary phone lines are ONLY open for queries from 9.30am-11.45am, and from 2.15pm-4.45pm.

If you are collecting medication for someone else, please check BEFORE you come to the surgery if it is Lloyds Pharmacy or St Mary's dispensary you need to pick up from.

Website:  http://www.stmarysely.nhs.uk/                  Facebook: @stmaryssurgeryely



Appointments

Patients should note that all routine appointments are postponed until further notice.

If you are ill with symptoms other than coronavirus and feel you need to see your GP, please contact us via askmyGP or ring the surgery. Where possible, consultations are taking place on the phone or via video call.

Only patients with confirmed appointments or who are collecting their prescriptions from St Mary’s dispensary or Lloyds Pharmacy will be allowed in the building at this time. Anyone entering the building will be screened, including having their temperature taken.

If you are coming to the surgery for an appointment, please do not arrive more than five minutes before your appointment time. This is to limit the number of people in the building at the same time.


I usually attend the surgery for my dressing change, can I still do that?
Yes. The surgery will have contacted you about your appointment. If, following your appointment, you still need to be seen again, your nurse will book your next appointment within four weeks.

I usually attend the surgery regularly for my injection, can I still do that?
Yes. The surgery will have contacted you about your appointment. If, following your appointment, you still need to be seen again, your nurse will book your next appointment within four weeks.

I usually attend the surgery for my blood test, do I still come in?
Yes. The surgery will have contacted you about your appointment. If, following your appointment, you still need to be seen again, your nurse will book your next appointment within four weeks.

I attend the surgery for an annual medication check for my condition, can I still do that?
No. The surgery will contact you and a review will be undertaken by telephone. We may ask you to do some home blood pressure readings and email them to us if you are on certain medication.

I am due a health check, do I still need to come to the surgery for it?
No. General health checks have been postponed for now. We have recall systems in place and you will be contacted if you need to attend a health check once normal services are restarted.

I am pregnant, do I still need to go for my check ups?
Yes you should continue to attend your maternity clinics. It might be worth checking with your hospital if there are changes to their local practices which might impact you. Don’t forget to maintain appropriate social distancing at your appointments.

You should also attend the surgery for antenatal bloods and immunisations as usual. And St Mary’s still has a small supply of flu vaccinations for pregnant ladies, if you missed yours this flu season.




Prescriptions & dispensary

I need a repeat of my medication, what can I do?
You can’t come into the surgery to order your prescription. Please either request online or post your repeat prescription in the surgery front door letter box when the surgery is closed, or in the red post box in the entrance way when the surgery is open.

Turnaround time is 5 working days. Please make sure you order your repeat at least 10 days before your medication is due to run out.

You should collect your prescription from your usual pharmacy, eg Boots, Sainsbury’s, our dispensary, etc.

If you are self-isolating, you should arrange for someone to collect on your behalf.

Can I order my repeat prescription online?
Yes. It’s easy to order your repeat medication online. If you are already registered with SystmOnline, order that way.

If you are not and wish to order online, please download the NHS app and follow the on screen instructions to register:
https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/the-nhs-app/

Use the App Store for I phone or Google Play for android.

Please note you have to be aged 13 or over to be able to register for the NHS app.

I have a query on my medication, how can I discuss it with the surgery?
You can still phone the dispensary on the surgery telephone number, choosing option 3 – see opening times above. However, we are having an unprecedented number of patients trying to call us at the present time and there may be long queues to speak to our dispensary team.

Alternatively, you can download a form – Medication Request / Query form – from our website. Please complete and return to the surgery. You can post it through the letterbox in the front door. You can also email the form to us.

I have a query about collecting my medication, where should I call?


If you have a query about collecting your repeat prescription, please contact the pharmacy you normally collect from. Please DO NOT ring St Mary’s dispensary if you normally collect your medication elsewhere.

Local pharmacies and chemists include:
Boots – 01353 661461
St Mary’s Pharmacy (50 St Mary's St) - 01353 772937
Lloyds Pharmacy instore at Sainsbury’s – 01353 663033
Lloyds Pharmacy at Princess of Wales hospital – 01353 664820
Lloyds Pharmacy (within St Mary’s Surgery) – 01353 662226
Tesco instore pharmacy – 0121 519 2677.

 
Can I get my repeat medication delivered now as I can’t leave my house?
If you or any member of your household is self-isolating, you should get someone else to collect your prescription for you – a friend or neighbour, or family member not currently living in your house.

If you really can’t get any help, A2B taxis have offered to deliver. Phone 01353 661010. You will need to contact them before 12 noon on the day you are due to pick up your medication. They will collect from St Mary’s at 4pm for delivery.

AAA Motorcycle Training has also offered to collect and deliver prescriptions between 8am-8pm, for free. Contact Sam or Lori on 07384 746025. 

Please note: This advice may change or delivery service be enhanced by the NHS Volunteer Responders as it comes into action across the country.
 
I usually drop my sharps box and clinical waste back to the dispensary or to Lloyds, can I still do that?
No. Due to COVID-19 sharps boxes cannot be currently returned. Please hold onto them safely for the time being. 

Normally all pharmacies will take back any unused medication. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, only Tesco is currently receiving returned medication.



Vaccinations

I’ve had a letter to say my child needs their vaccinations, do I still need to come to the surgery for that?
Yes. It’s important that if you’ve received a letter inviting your child for their vaccinations that you  ring the surgery to arrange an appointment.

Childhood vaccination appointments will now take place between 12 noon and 2.00pm.

Please remember routine childhood vaccinations save lives. They boost your child’s immunity against a variety of diseases.

In the light of COVD-19 if you, your child or a member of your family has a NEW persistent cough or raised temperature (above 37.8 degrees), please follow the stay at home guidance and DO NOT come to the surgery. However, once the 14 days have passed, it is important you do contact St Mary’s to arrange your immunisation appointment.
 
I’m planning to go on holiday overseas later in the year. Can I get my travel vaccinations now?
No. The surgery has currently suspended its travel clinic services. We are NOT offering  travel vaccinations at this current time.

Can I still get my flu jab?
Flu or pneumo vaccinations are still available for those in at risk groups, if you haven’t already had yours during this flu season. Contact the surgery to discuss.

Can I still get a shingles jab?
No. Shingles vaccinations have been put on hold for now.

 
Patient registration

I am a new patient to the surgery. How do I register at this time?
St Mary’s Surgery has introduced the new process for patient registration at this current time. Full details of how to register can be found on our website here.  




Patients with long-term conditions

I am an asthma patient, what should I do?
Asthma UK's advice is to keep taking your preventer inhaler (usually brown) daily as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.

Carry your blue reliever inhaler with you every day, in case you feel your asthma symptoms flaring up. If your asthma is getting worse and there is a risk you might have coronavirus, contact the online NHS 111 coronavirus service. More information is available at www.asthma.org.uk
 
I have a heart problem, what should I do?
The British Heart Foundation has information about patients with heart or circulatory problems and coronavirus. Check www.bhf.org.uk

I have epilepsy, where can I find more information?
Patients with epilepsy can find help and support information on www.epilepsysociety.org.uk

I have COPD, where can I find more information?
The British Thoracic Society has useful information for people with respiratory conditions. Check www.bht.thoracic.org.uk

I have diabetes, where can I find more information?
Diabetes UK has published extensive guidance about coronavirus for people living with diabetes. Check www.diabetes.org.uk

I support someone with dementia, where can I go for help or advice?
If you have any questions about supporting someone with dementia during the coronavirus outbreak, please call the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or via email.

I’m in the ‘shielding’ group announced by the government but I haven’t received a letter yet?
Patients in the high at risk group should have been contacted by NHS England by Sunday 29 March. Patients in this group who have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks, can find help and support on www.gov.uk – search ‘stay at home’ or ‘shielding’.
 
I’m in the ‘shielding’ group and can’t leave my house, how do I get food and other essential support?
If you have received a letter from NHS England regarding avoiding face to face contact for at least 12 weeks, help is available as confirmed in your letter. This help might be delivery of essential supplies like food or collection of your prescription medication. Register here to sign up for this support.

East Cambs District Council has also established a COVID-19 coordination hub. The hub will provide advice and help on how to get support with things such as shopping, a friendly phone call, or urgent supplies such as medication and so on.

Contact 01353 665555 or email: covid19@eastcambs.gov.uk

Other useful links to help you through coronavirus

Coronavirus and what you need to do - https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Guidance on staying at home and away from others – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
 


Mental health and wellbeing

I’m finding lockdown very stressful and it’s making me anxious. Is there anyone I can talk to?
We all know that things are difficult at the moment. We know some people are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even scared. It's at times like this that looking after your mental health and wellbeing is extremely important.  

Support is available for you. Lots of organisations, charities and community groups have resources to help you maintain good mental health and improve your wellbeing.

Find out more:


Sick notes / MED3 forms

I was signed off work sick before the coronavirus pandemic happened. What do I do about my sick note?
If you have a pre-existing sick note from your GP, you can request a further one. Ring the surgery and a form will be emailed or posted to you. If you want to receive it by email, you will be asked to give your consent. 

My employer says I need to have a sick note if I am off work at this time?
As per national guidelines, no MED3s will be issued for COVID-19 patients.

If your employer has asked you to self-isolate because you or a member of your household is showing symptoms, you can apply for an isolation note via NHS 111 online.

 
Referrals

I was recently referred to a hospital and an appointment date has come through, do I still attend?
Yes. Plan to attend as per the details of your appointment. If your appointment does get cancelled, you should receive a text or a notification. It might be worth doing a final double check by ringing the hospital on the day of your appointment to be sure.

Please DO NOT ring St Mary’s Surgery about your hospital appointment. Patients need to contact their hospital directly.
 

Other questions?

How can I volunteer to help the NHS and my community at this time?

You can join the NHS Volunteer Responders here.

East Cambs District Council has set up a COVID-19 coordination hub. The hub will coordinate local groups who can provide help and support to vulnerable households.  Click on the link to find out more.

I wear a hearing aid, where can I get replacement batteries?

If you normally go to Specsavers for your batteries, do still go there. They are open 10am-4pm from Monday to Saturday. Please note you will need to ring the bell and wait outside.
If you normally collect your batteries from Cambs Hearing Help, do call them on 01223 416141.


 
Coronavirus / COVID-19 – health guidance

If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus, please go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ for online screening. Only call NHS 111 if your symptoms get worse or you cannot get help online.

More health-related information can be found here
 
Government guidance on coronavirus

You can find detailed guidance, help and support and all you need to know about coronavirus at www.gov.uk Follow the links to the information you need.

Click here for an easy read guide to coronavirus