Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Dear Patients,

The Gardens Surgery has been open throughout the pandemic and we have implemented changes as advised by NHS England in order to keep our staff and patients safe.  These include reducing the numbers of patients in reception by having an intercom on the front door, implementing a telephone first model for all GP appointments and reception signposting and nursing triage for Nursing face to face appointments.   We are pleased that our staff have maintained same day access for all patients with urgent clinical issues throughout the pandemic even when 90 per cent of our non-clinical staff were off work with Covid as well as continuing to provide routine telephone and face to face appointments where clinically necessary.  Nationally the demand for GP appointments has increased dramatically in recent weeks. We are aware our wait for a routine telephone consultation with a GP has lengthened recently and have employed locums to reduce the wait to near normal levels.  Our nursing staff have continued to provide their usual excellent patient care with a combination of face to face and telephone appointments throughout the pandemic.  Our Nursing team have all been valued members of the South Southwark Vaccination Team as well as providing home visits for Vaccination for housebound patients.  Nurse Brenda is the overall lead for the Vaccination Service in South Southwark and Dr Stephens is one of the Clinical Leads for the Service. Nurse Brenda also led the first wave Covid Assessment Service and Dr Stephens worked in both the First and Second wave Covid Assessment Service.

The Letter from NHS England came at a time when the Prime Minister has announced there is likely to be a surge in Covid infection due to the B.1.617 Variant and there was no consultation between NHS England and the British medical Association or our LMC prior to its’ publication.  Both the BMA and the LMC have advised that we should continue to comply with our contract by offering access to face to face appointments based on our assessment of clinical need following telephone assessment despite the letter from NHS England. Staff and patient safety are paramount and in our small building we feel any change in our current access arrangements would be to the detriment of both staff and patients.

From the Partners at the Gardens Surgey, Dr Stephens, Dr Atalar and Dr Cameron

Please click here for link for Covid-19 updates



COVID-19 Vaccine: The NHS will get in touch when it’s your turn to be vaccinated – PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE SURGERY BEFORE THEN


The vaccine may not be given at your GP Practice but at another local vaccination service


The first phase of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme has begun. However, initially the vaccination will be prioritised for those over 80, care home workers and residents, and frontline health and care staff. These vaccinations will be delivered through a limited number of Hospital and GP Hubs. See this leaflet explaining who was chosen for the first group and why.


If you are in a priority group, when it is the right time, you will receive an invitation to come forward for your vaccination.  For most people this will be a letter (some might receive a call or a text), either from the practice or the national NHS. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. 


This is going to be a long-term programme and it will likely take until at least Spring before all high-risk groups have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.


Please help us and do not contact the practice or other NHS services to get an appointment for a COVID vaccination until you get this letter.   Please also continue to follow the national guidance to control the virus and save lives. 


Information on the vaccine is available on


Priority Cohort Sequence


  1. Older people’s care homes residents and staff
  2. People 80 years of age and over, and healthcare and social care workers
  3. People 75 years of age and over
  4. People 70 years of age and over
  5. People 65 years of age and over
  6. Adults under 65 years of age at high risk due to medical conditions
  7. Adults under 65 years of age at moderate risk due to medical conditions
  8. People 60 years of age and over
  9. People 55 years of age and over
  10. People 50 years of age and over

Key workers, and the rest of the population 

For more information click here

Appointments at the Surgery

Dear Patients, due to Covid-19 we are only offering routine or urgent telephone consultations with the GP. Please call the surgery to book a Telephone call with the GP. If you have a booked Telephone Call it is an approximate time so please keep your phone with you 

If you or a member of your household have a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss in or change of your sense of smell or taste;


Instead, please self-isolate immediately in case you have COVID-19.

You must use the NHS 111 online coronavirus assessment and testing service or call 111 if you cannot get help online.

How to access your GP Practice

Please click here

Get Vitamin D tablets

Use this service to get free daily vitamin D supplements if you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19). Please click here 

Please ensure if you are visiting the practice for your appointment that you have adequate face covering for your nose and mouth. Thank you 

Face Exemption card

If you need a face covering exemption letter due to having learning disabilities or have to lip read etc please click on link below. The Gardens Surgery does NOT provide such lettters. Many thanks

Do I need a sick note? 

You can find lots of NHS England guidance here

You can obtain an Isolation note from here


What if I need my regular medication? 

In the first instance please order repeat medication via  the pharmacy, Patient Acess or NHS App. You will need to nominate a pharmacy first. Please be aware that although we are working through requests as quickly as we can, the levels of demand are placing the system under pressure and pharmacies may not be able to order medication quite as quickly as normal due to the volume of requests.



Where we can, we are using techniques and systems available to us to try and ease some of the difficulties, but we would ask that you are patient and request medications with a little more time than you usually would. There is no need to request medications very early, we anticipate that these difficulties will be very temporary in nature and will ease over the coming weeks.

NHS England have asked all GP’s to issue prescriptions with a 28 day supply at the moment to avoid any potential supply disruption, however your GP might be able to give you more than one prescription at a time so please don’t worry this will not affect getting your medicines as usual.

We have also been asked to switch off paper prescriptions to reduce face to face contact in the surgery, this means we will send your prescription to a chemist of your choice.

You can download an App to help track your repeat medication here 


What if I have a chronic medical condition? 

Those most at risk of serious illness are being contacted by the NHS from 23rd March to advise what they should do.



Who is at high risk?

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Please do not contact us to ask about this – wait to be contacted. We will continue to support our patients and will follow the latest government advice. As you will appreciate, guidance changes on a daily basis and we are doing everything we can under challenging conditions.



How are we minimising the risks to patients? 

In order to ensure that we can continue to deal with as many patients as possible, we have been advised by the Government that general practice should move to telephone  consultations. This helps to minimise the number of people who are physically coming into the practice. Where possible we avoid seeing patients who have coronavirus Symptoms but who are managing well at home. Cleaning advice has been issued by the government, and while we are always rigorous with our cleaning and disinfection, where appropriate and guidance differs for Coronavirus, we have changed our cleaning practices to reflect this






Cancellation of and re-arrangement of routine appointments

Where we have needed to cancel or re-schedule appointments due to the current situation, we appreciate that this will not have been welcome news. 

At this time the hospital will also be cancelling routine face to face appointments, for some departments they might be able to change your appointment to a phone call or they might need to rebook it in the future. If you are unsure about any hospital appointments please call the hospital on 0208 401 3800 to speak to a member of the bookings team.



General Advice


  • Handwashing is an incredibly important part of staying fit and healthy. The NHS have produced a guide to proper handwashing techniques, please watch this video for guidance



What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.