Changes due to Coronavirus Update

Posted by:  - Posted on:

In line with NHS England and Public Health England advice, we have made big changes to how we serve our patients. This has not been an easy decision but unfortunately is needed at the moment to protect our patients due to Coronavirus and the risk of this being passed to patients whilst in the Practice. We continue to work with our patient reference group to consider changes and respond to feedback on our service.

For many, coronavirus will be a mild illness and the NHS is focussing its efforts on those most unwell and affected by the condition.

Thank you for your understanding, please be assured that our aim is to protect you and your families. We will also continue to update this page with further details.

Please remember we are still here for you and happy to be contacted.

Visiting our practice?

Please continue to wear a face covering and social distance

All of our COVID-19 secure measures remain in place. This has been reinforced by NHS England in March 2022 and takes into the considerations of the February 24th national changes.

Patients are asked to continue to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt, and to follow social distancing when visiting our GP Practice.

This follows the national Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Guidance for all healthcare settings and will help to ensure the safety of our staff and patients at all times.

Thank you for your continued support.

The NHS is open, general practice is open and here to support you.

There are also appointments available at the City Care hub and the Surge Hub. If you would like a telephone or video consultation in the evening or weekend you can book an appointment yourself with the Greater Peterborough Network Hub service by clicking the link and selecting book appointment at the top. This is for a routine new problem only. Many of our Doctors contribute to this workforce in the evenings and on weekends.

BookAppointment | Greater Peterborough Network (

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms – these are either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP medical centre, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse

Get medical help – NHS 111

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

Get an isolation note – NHS (

If you would like advice on isolation please follow this link:

For the following queries, please see

  • How long to stay at home
    • If you have symptoms
    • If you live with someone who has symptoms
    • If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

What to do if you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (

If you are struggling, you can call 119 to get tested for Coronavirus if you have relevant symptoms.

Testing for Coronavirus

Please book a test if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you’re getting a test for someone you lives with who has symptoms
  • you live in England and have been told to get a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery
  • your local council asks you to get a test
  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project

If you would like to book a test click on this link below:

Get a coronavirus test – GOV.UK (

If you are struggling to get a test you can try calling 119. Failing this if you need help and support we can help you.

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

We are focussing on vaccinating vulnerable 5-11 year old children at present. If you are outside this age range and need your booster or 1st or 2nd immunisations please arrange this via calling 119 or booking online – see more details below.

In terms of any planned appointments with Thistlemoor, there are no changes at the current time and everyone should attend your planned appointments as normal. If we need to make any changes, we will contact you directly.

See more about the vaccination programme in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, including the vaccination services:

The Vaccinators | COVID-19 Vaccination Centres | Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

The public have an important part to play to help us do this:

  • please don’t contact the medical centre to seek a vaccine
  • if we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
  • and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

There are also a number of national vaccination sites that are opening and patients may receive a letter from the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service inviting you to book an appointment at one of these vaccination centres. If you receive a letter and are able to travel to the vaccination centre safely, we recommend that you book using the details the letter provides you can also call 119 to book yourself in for a vaccine.

Our practice remains open and you can still contact the medical centre for any medical concerns you may have.

For medical advice outside of medical centre hours, please contact NHS 111 on the telephone or online via

You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including frequently asked questions and patient information leaflets here: COVID-19 national vaccination programme | Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (

Appointments at Thistlemoor

All our walk-in surgeries are suspended to minimise the spread of the vaccine to patient, the community and our staff. All on the day requests to see a clinician will be a telephone triage consultation first with the clinician deciding if the patient then needs to be seen, which may be by video consultation or we may ask you to send a photo if it helps decision making. If you do not have a phone or technology we will do our best to meet your needs and requirements.

This is to ensure that patients with infectious symptoms do not inadvertently pass these infections to our patient population. There is great difficulty as some patients may not have symptoms but can still be carrying the virus.

Our team of nurses and healthcare assistants can help with language and communication.

We know you are used to seeing clinicians in person, however as explained above this will be reserved for when the clinician feels this is needed.

People entering the building

We are taking steps to minimise the number of people entering the site to ensure that this is limited to people that enter our practice site to protect our patient community.

The doors of the Practice are open and hand sanitizer is provided. We ask you to continue to wear your masks in our Practice environment to protect yourself and others unless you have a specific exemption from wearing a mask.

All consultations will now be by telephone unless you have specifically been told otherwise.

If any clinician wishes to see a patient face-to-face, this will need to be discussed and agreed first to ensure that this is only done when needed and not simply because someone wants to be seen face to face. For example someone may want a face to face appointment after having a blocked nose for a day – we need to prioritise appointments and therefore need to assess this first rather than directly booking them to ensure those who need a face to face appointment are able to access an appointment. Patients also ring us for a myriad of different reasons – such as dental problems – we need the ability to sign post them away from our General Practice service.

For those patients given a face-to-face appointment (following their telephone consultation) :

Please come in through reception and let the main reception know that you have arrived for an appointment – or if you prefer – please go to the self check-in desk and check yourself in for your appointment.

Thank you for your help and support and co-operation.

Home Visits

Home visit requests are to be put on the system as normal but patient / carer / care home advised that the Dr will call first to telephone triage and decide if a visit is needed / appropriate. You can imagine our service is under tremendous pressure at the moment so please do not be disappointed if we give you advice over the phone or sign-post you to the 111 service. There is also a team called the JET team who are provided to help support people in the community it may be that this service is best placed to help care for you.

Phone Services

As you can imagine there is tremendous strain on our phone system at present. Please consider alternative ways of contacting us. We would strongly encourage you to use our engage consult online consulting which enables you to explain how you need help and for us to gain information from you prior to phoning you. There is amazingly positive feedback for this service. We understand that sometimes you would prefer to ring but encourage you to use this service as it helps us direct you to the best person to deal with your enquiry straight away.

You can also email us: [email protected] – but please do not email our reception with personal information.

Repeat Prescriptions

All patients requesting repeat prescriptions need to be reviewed annually to ensure that their medications need to be continued. This process is normally le by the team of pharmacists in the Practice. The NHS has asked us not to organise more than 1 months worth of presciptions at a time for routine medications as this will cause supply problems for the NHS and mean that patients may miss out.

You can also order your medications via your pharmacy and by emailing us: [email protected]

You can also use EngageConsult to order medications.

Patients and local pharmacies have been informed via usual routes.

Online Services

Please use the above Thistlemoor Medical Centre – Online Services ( (on-line consultation) service (no in person registration required – this can be done via the internet) if possible to reduce the load on our phone system as it is the safest and most structured way of seeking online help, with service guaranteed by the end of the next working day. You can request medications, medical certificates, get self-care advice and also seek information on medical problems.

Please click here for the direct link.


We aim to discuss results with patients over the phone rather than a face to face appointment where possible. Even if referrals are needed, these will be further discussed with patients over the phone where possible. If a Face to face appointment is needed then this will be explained to you.

Letters from Specialists / Other Providers

On a daily basis we receive several hundred letters from the hospital and other services that help our patients. Normally we would call you in to discuss letters or you would come to see us to discuss a letter. We will now try to call you to discuss letters where needed or may send you an SMS message regarding this if you have given us permission to send you a message via SMS.


As the pandemic goes on – we are aware that you may have been waiting before coming to the Practice. If you are worried about a problem or have noticed changes please do contact us, we are here to help you. We can also support you with urgent referrals and tests. There may be a delay at times but we will explain this to you.

Long-term condition management

The longer the pandemic continues the greater the importance of the maintenance of conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, your heart and mental wellbeing are important. As we moved passed April 2021 – our plan is to review all patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart problems (such as ischaemic heart disease, heart failure), rheumatoid arthritis and stroke. We are trying out new ways of doing the majority of checks remotely to try to consider how we can give high quality reviews whilst still protecting the community. Please see below for further details. Currently we are prioritising Asthmatic and Diabetic patients to try and bring meaningful improvements to their care.


Postnatal medicals – these are to be booked in and seen as normal with face to face appointments. This is an important appointment where there is time with Doctors and nurses to help support you and your baby. -We may ring you ahead of the appointment to gather as much information as possible as this will enable you to minimise the time outside of your house. We do expect the parent attending the appointment to wear a mask unless there is a medical exemption to this.

Contraceptive appointment requests

Oral Contraception – Telephone consultation to be made with a GP or nurse. We may ask you to monitor your blood pressure and phone us with the readings if you have the ability to do this at home.

Non Oral Contraception – Usual telephone call with a doctor to discuss this, there is a sexual health clinic that can help with this. Tel: 0300 300 300

King’s Chambers, Peterborough (

Paid medicals – We do medicals for the DVLA and for patients employers. We will try to help our patients with employment matters but please remember that our priority will be your health.

Minor operation assessments and actual procedures – We are not booking in new procedures for minor procedures or joint injections.

Continuing / New Fit Notes –Where appropriate – these can be arranged over the telephone with a clinician and will be sent to you electronically.

Fit Note”: We have had employers asking patients to come to the practice for a “fit note” to prove that you are fit for work. This type of note does not exist. Please advise your employer of this. Each employer has their own responsibility to ensure that you are ready to return to work and they should follow their own procedures for this. We also cannot provide proof that you have not had Coronavirus. If you are already receiving a medical certificate then the end date of the medical certificate will be your last day of your sick leave and without a further certificate you are deemed fit on the day after this date.

Blood tests

We continue to prioritise high priority medications for monitoring. We are also reviewing annual checks for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid and other long term conditions. We will contact you to arrange this. There is a home visiting service provided by the federation – Greater Peterborough Network who Thistlemoor helped train Healthcare Assistants for – and we will be using this service where suitable. The District nursing service will also provide blood tests for patients on their caseload.

Long term condition clinics – As well as face to face reviews – we are finding alternative ways to get information to allow us to continue to monitor and help you with your long term conditions. We are sending out peak flow metres so that you can help monitor your asthma and asking you to measure your blood pressure and provide readings to help ensure your blood pressure is well controlled.

Extended Access Sessions – All appointments will be prioritised for ring backs or video consultations, these will be utilised to support our patients needs. We are doing catch up clinics for smears and childhood immunisations on Thursday afternoons and Saturdays as well which may be in normal hours but will be additional clinics.

NHS England has asked that we review and postpone many procedures during this COVID season.

Ongoing Care:

Implant and coil insertion – the expiry dates have been reviewed and extended by one year as per national specialist advice. The sexual health clinic has restarted their clinics please contact them: or telephone 0300 300 300.

Nibedo (Testosterone) and antipsychotic depots– These have continued and will continue

Stitches removal – To be continued

Wound care – This will be continued but we may need to assess whether the patient or a carer could take over the dressings at home to minimise the risk to patients.

Childhood Immunisations – To Continue as normal. We are also trying to book in more appointments. If your child is overdue an appointment please contact us. We are also calling in evenings and weekends utilising our HCA’s languages skills so please don’t be surprised if we call you on a weekend or if you get a message about this.

Dopplers – These are tests on circulation. These can also be done at other centres and where possible will be booked elsewhere to save our capacity for urgent cases.

ECG’s – Urgent recordings will be requested by the GPs or relevant clinicians or the hospital with the aim of same day and routine ECGs will also be booked in but again this will most likely be booked in off-site to help our capacity.

Cancelled procedures – if you are concerned that you have had a usual appointment cancelled please do not hesitate to contact us.

Smears tests (cervical cytology) . We have returned to our normal cervical cytology appointment system. Any patients who need 6 monthly or yearly smears as they had a previous abnormal smear will be prioritised. Any new symptoms such as bleeding would need to be investigated in a different way and therefore a phone consultation may be needed and then referral to a hospital (colposcopy) clinic. We have caught up our smear performance and are back up to pre-pandemic levels – but we continue to put on extra clinics for this. We have trialled new ways of booking your appointment from your phone, which has received positive feedback.

Vit B12 Injections – We have reviewed this and many patients are now taking oral medication rather than injections.

Travel Vaccines – There are various travel centres around Peterborough in Chemists and supermarkets. International travel continues to be quite restricted, we are happy to give general advice but it may be best to check regarding travel on official government websites.