COVID Vaccination Clinics 

Update: 15th January 2021

We finally received our first delivery of the Pfizer vaccines today, Friday 15th January.  The vaccines are shared between the nine Mid-Dorset practices in our Primary Care Network according to practice population and we were allocated 66 vaccines which we have invited those in the first priority group, aged over 80, to have on Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th January.

We have also been told we will receive two deliveries next week so we are currently booking patients into clinics from Tuesday to Saturday next week.

All these appointments will be done at The Atrium Medical Centre in the centre of Dorchester, with car parking in the Market Street car park (note, you will have to pay for your car parking, it will not be free as we first thought.  Sorry!)

If you are unable to travel to Dorchester for your vaccine, do not despair; we are hopeful that we will start to receive some of the Astra-Zeneca vaccines which we can use to vaccinate our care-home patients and anyone who is housebound, so do tell us if you find travel difficult and we will put you on the list for the Astra Zeneca vaccine once we get stocks of it.

We hope to complete vaccinating our care home patients and those aged over 80 in the next couple of weeks and we will work flat out to get everyone in the next two groups (aged over 75, and those over 70 or with underlying medical conditions) by mid-February as the government has asked.  Unfortunately because we were the last of the six “waves” to receive our vaccines we have a mountain to climb to meet the same target as practices who were able to start one month earlier, but we will do our best!

IMPORTANT: our text invitations contain a link for you to book the appointment online directly yourself (with the aim of  protecting the surgeries from being inundated with calls which could block the lines for those needing to speak urgently to a doctor).  THE TEXT WILL NOT ASK YOU TO SEND US A TEXT TO VERIFY YOUR IDENTITY, NOR WILL IT ASK YOU FOR BANK DETAILS.  There are scam texts going around so don’t be caught out.  If in doubt contact us to check whether the invitation is from us.

Please do not ring the surgery to ask for news.  Rest assured we will make sure each eligible patient is invited as soon as we have a vaccine for you.  If you don’t have a mobile or don’t respond to your text we are ringing every patient so you won’t miss out.  

The latest instructions are that we do NOT book the appointment now for the second vaccination as the government is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible with at least one dose of the vaccine.

If you do not wish to have the COVID vaccination please tell us so that we don’t keep trying to contact you, ideally by emailing portesham.reception@dorsetgp.nhs.uk.

For frequently asked questions please see  Covid Patient FAQs

Changes to appointment system from 11th January 2021

We have kept our doors open throughout the pandemic and carried on taking bookings for routine appointments in advance (the only difference being these are telephone appointments), as well as dealing on the day with emergencies and urgent queries, and if you need to be seen by the doctor we have continued to bring patients into the surgery every day.

However the current unprecedented workload is threatening to swamp us.  Our GPs have been working 12 hour days and carrying on working at home in the evenings and at weekends.  We have to make some changes to ensure that, for the next few weeks at least, we can prioritise patients with the most urgent needs.

We are therefore moving to a total triage system for our GP work, as many other GP surgeries have already done.  Please note that this does not apply to nurse appointments which will continue as normal.

The main difference for you is that we cannot book you a routine appointment until the pressure eases.  This will give time for the second GP each day to assist with the on-the-day emergencies and triaging all requests to make sure that the most urgent requests are dealt with quickly.

  • If you have an urgent problem which you feel requires same-day assessment by a doctor, you should telephone us as normal and we will put you on that day’s triage list.  A doctor will assess the information you give our receptionist and either telephone you, bring you in to the surgery or book you a later appointment as appropriate.
  • If you feel your problem is less urgent and does not require same day assessment, please send  an eConsult by clicking on the blue box towards the bottom of this page.  This will be looked at by a GP and you will get a response by email within 2 -3 working days (the response could be advice, a prescription or the offer of an appointment as appropriate).  For patients who are less computer-savvy, continue to telephone us and we will help you.

If your problem is relatively routine but you feel it cannot wait please telephone us for advice; our reception or admin team may be able to help you or we will add your request to the GP list to assess and respond to within an appropriate timescale. For routine problems please try to ring between 9am and 11am, avoiding the busy first half hour and allowing us to prioritise urgent calls and emergencies after 11am so we can be sure of completing all the same-day work by the end of the day.

Remember, we are still open and working as normal, seeing patients, monitoring your long-term conditions and organising referrals, so do not delay if there is something you are worried about.  The only difference is that all new requests will be triaged by the GPs first so that we can be sure we are dealing with the most clinically urgent problems first.

Our GPs can not respond to emails at the moment so please only use this option for sending information to the GP which does not require a response (such as sending us your home BP readings) or to request administrative help from our admin team.  Our email address for these purposes is portesham.reception@dorsetgp.nhs.uk.  Remember, for non-urgent queries use the eConsult option or telephone our reception team for advice.

Remember not to come into the surgery in person unless you are collecting medication from the dispensary (which is 8.30 to 1pm or 5 – 6 pm) or for a pre-arranged appointment with a GP or nurse.  Don’t forget your mask!

We understand that these changes may seem radical – we are all used to being available to our patients at all times for appointments and phone calls – but the pace of work has simply outstripped our capacity at the moment, and we hope that these changes will mean we can keep going until the immediate pressure eases.

Coronavirus Arrangements

Do not attend the surgery if you suspect you have the virus or have been in close contact with an infected person.  Use the NHS 111 online symptom checker at https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19You do not need to call us, or NHS 111, to report that you have the symptoms.  Follow the care advice given on the NHS 111 website or in the media, but contact us if your symptoms worsen or you are worried.  If you think you might have COVID-19 you can telephone the NHS COVID hotline number 119 or go online to 119 to arrange to have a test.

For up to date information please use the following links:   GOV.uk/coronavirus     NHS.uk/coronavirus


FOR REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS ORDERED VIA TELEPHONE OR ONLINE PLEASE CAN WE ASK THAT YOU GIVE THE DISPENSARY AT LEAST ONE WEEKS’ NOTICE WHERE POSSIBLE.  This is because of the persistent delays in stock being delivered, which can result in long queues at the dispensary if you come to collect something which we have not yet received from the suppliers. Thank you for helping us to reduce the queues by ordering in plenty of time.

Third Lockdown: once again the pubs are closed but as in the previous lockdowns, we will deliver to patients in Puncknowle who are unable to collect from the Surgery, and the White Horse in Litton Cheney opens from 10 – 12am every Saturday for you to collect prescriptions.  Please do your best to collect your medication at this time but if you can’t, the Vennings have once again offered to deliver any uncollected prescriptions.  We are very grateful to them for their help in keep the valley healthy!

Click here for full information and advice on all our new arrangements to keep you safe.


For non-urgent queries you can now do an eConsult.  With many of our consultations being done by telephone it may be harder for you to reach us by telephone at the moment, so this is a helpful alternative which is becoming increasingly popular with our patients.  It gives the doctor all the information they need to be able to help you, for example with advice or a prescription, and it saves you travelling to the surgery, finding a lift or childcare, taking time off work etc, so do give it a try – see below. eConsults are suitable for NON URGENT QUERIES and will get a response within two working days.  For more urgent problems please telephone us as normal.

PLEASE CLICK THIS BOX to start your eConsult:

See here for more details about eConsult and how it works.

Flu vaccinations 

We still have stocks of the flu vaccine for the over 65s and for those aged 50 – 64, and would encourage you to have this vaccination while you are waiting for your turn to be called for the COVID vaccination, as research shows you are less susceptible to complications if you are protected from the flu.  Please contact us to book an appointment if you have not already had yours.

Telephone numbers:

Please note that we have closed the old dispensary telephone number as we no longer take routine medication orders by phone.  If you have a medication query please ring the main surgery number 01305 871468 or email the appropriate team:


SOCIAL PRESCRIBING..is now at Portesham Surgery !

Who would like to write their own script? why not take a fresh approach in life.  If you want to improve your wellbeing, try writing yourself a new wellbeing script!

Click HERE to find out more about Social Prescribing and how we could help you




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