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: 21 September 2020


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 Advanced Pharmacy will be allowed in the building at this time. Anyone entering the building will be screened, including having their temperature taken.

Please wear your face covering when entering the surgery building.

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 return 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 nowWe 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:

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
Advanced 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. 

I usually drop my sharps box and clinical waste back to the dispensary or to the pharmacy, can I still do that?

St Mary’s dispensary is not taking sharps boxes from patients who originally received them from the dispensary. Likewise, Advanced Pharmacy is not currently taking sharps boxes.

Unused medicine cannot currently be returned. Patients are kindly asked to hold onto them for now.


Can I still get my flu jab?
Yes. This year’s flu vaccination programme is underway. If you have received a text from the surgery inviting you to book for a flu clinic, please do contact us to book your appointment.

With the threat of coronavirus, this year’s flu vaccination programme is being made available to a wider group of people through a phased approach. Please DO NOT book for a flu clinic if we have not yet contacted you. We will be in touch in due course.

If you are over 65 and registered to use SystmOnline you can book that way. We are currently asking those in other eligible groups to phone the surgery.  (We would be grateful if you can avoid ringing on Mondays.)

All patients will be screened on entry to the building, including having their temperatures taken at the door. Social distancing rules will be followed and there will be a one-way route for each patient through the surgery. Staff will be on hand to help throughout.

Patients are asked to wear a face covering during their visit to the surgery.

Updated 30.9.20

Can I still get a shingles or pneumococcal jab?
Yes. Shingles and pneumococcal vaccinations are available for those who are eligible for them. The surgery will be in touch with you if you are in this group.

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 take place between 11 and 1.00pm.

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. Can I get my travel vaccinations?
No. The surgery has currently suspended its travel clinic services. We are NOT offering travel vaccinations at this current time.
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
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

I have epilepsy, where can I find more information?
Patients with epilepsy can find help and support information on

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

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

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.

Other useful links to help you through coronavirus

Coronavirus and what you need to do –

Guidance on staying at home and away from others –

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:• Support for adultsSupport for children and young people.

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.


My doctor is referring me to a hospital, what is the referral process while the pandemic continues?
Referrals are continuing. The hospital will contact you about your referral and they will arrange your appointment. Please note you will not receive a letter from St Mary’s Surgery, you will hear directly from the hospital.

When you receive a confirmed appointment, you should plan to attend as per the details in your notification. The hospital will contact you if the appointment needs to be changed to a telephone or video consultation instead of a face to face at the clinic, or if the appointment needs to be re-arranged.

Please DO NOT ring St Mary’s Surgery about your hospital referral appointment. 

Addenbrooke’s Hospital appointment line is: 01223 274593
Hinchingbrooke Hospital is: 01480 416416
The Princess of Wales Hospital continues to not take any referrals at the present time.

 Updated 30.9.20

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 book for a test. Call NHS 119 if you have problems using the online service. 
Government guidance on coronavirus

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

Click here for an easy read guide to coronavirus