Corona Virus Information (COVID-19)


To minimise the risk of spreading infection we ask that you do not attend the surgery (for any reason, including collecting prescriptions), if:

  • you have a new cough or fever
  • you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 (coronavirus).

In either of these instances do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call NHS 111 or use their online symptom checker at the 111 coronavirus online service 

If you call us about your symptoms we will ask you the same questions so it will save time if you do this first.  We will do it on the phone for patients who can’t get online.

If you have checked your symptoms and they do not appear to be related to Coronavirus, one of our doctors will triage your call and if you need to be seen we will bring you into the Surgery in a special afternoon surgery.  

Our super new reception screen keeps us all a bit safer!


Shielding people at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition.

Information for these people, and their family, friends and carers, is available on the website or click here.  Shielding is the advice to protect those who are clinically extremely vulnerable by avoiding all face-to-face contact with others for at least 12 weeks.   There is also an excellent and very comprehensive) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document published by NHS England on 1st April which should answer most of your questions – please take a look.

The extremely vulnerable group includes very specific clinical conditions (such as people with specific cancers, recipients of solid organ transplants, receiving certain immunotherapy or cancer treatments, or severe respiratory conditions).  

If you fall into one of these categories you should have received a text or letter from NHS England.  Most patients will by now have been contacted, so if you believe you should have had a letter because you do fall into one of these categories, please contact your GP so we can check whether shielding applies to you.  Please however read the guidance on the links given above first, as the criteria are very specific and will not apply to many people who are vulnerable but not considered to be at such high risk of severe complications if they do contract the virus.

Please note: this is different from the text messages received by everyone with a mobile phone at the start of the pandemic, which repeated the government advice to all of us to stay indoors except if we need to shop, for health reasons, daily exercise or essential work which cannot be done from home.  Shielding only applies to those who are clinically at extreme risk if they contract the virus.  

Note also that there are already Coronavirus scams being sent by text and email.  If you are unsure whether a text message or email is a scam please do not click on any links or supply any personal information.  Genuine text messages are sent from NHS Business Services from 07307 810357.  If the text comes from a different number you should ignore it.  And remember you can contact us if you want to check if you are in this high-risk category of patients.

Advice for Parents

At this challenging time it is important for you to know that COVID-19 is unlikely to make children unwell, but they, like everyone else, might be infectious, so staying at home when well remains the message.  However all the normal illnesses that can make children severely unwell still remain, and there is a major risk that parents may delay bringing their child to the attention of a healthcare professional, even if they are unwell, because of worries about COVID-19.    GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done for children and have taken drastic measures to keep all our patients safe at this time.  So if you are unsure if your child is unwell and whether they need to be seen, contact us or call 111 outside normal GP opening hours.  You can also click here for advice.  For information about crying babies click here.  If your child appears severely unwell and advice is not quickly available then call 999 or take them to your local A&E department as you would at any other time.

Current COVID-19 arrangements at Portesham Surgery to keep you safe, as of 19th June 2020:



  • All our initial doctors’ appointments are being done by telephone. If our doctors feel you do need to be examined face to face by a doctor about a non-Covid-19 condition, they will then invite you in for a morning appointment at the surgery
  • Any patients with respiratory symptoms will be seen in the afternoon.  This is to minimise the risk of spreading the infection between infected and uninfected patients.
  • to avoid patients booking a face-to-face appointment without checking any respiratory symptoms, we have changed our SystmOnline appointments to telephone appointments only.  However please do not book an online telephone appointment for anything urgent, or where you think you might need to be seen – please ring us and speak to receptionist so we can make sure you get the most urgent advice and are brought in to the surgery promptly if you need to be examined.
  • For less urgent advice, especially if you have trouble getting through to us on the telephone at the moment, you could do an eConsultation (see below).

Nurse & HCA appointments: 

All non-urgent nurse appointments (eg for travel immunisations, smear tests and vitamin B12 injections) are being cancelled.


  • Urgent face-to-face procedures (such as dressings and INR tests) will be carried out in the mornings only. If you are shielding or unable to get to the surgery without putting yourself or your driver at risk, please contact us as soon as possible so we can make alternative arrangements for you.



We will continue to follow NHS advice and issue one month’s supply of medication at a time.  If we prescribe more now, as many community pharmacies have done, this creates supply shortages (as we have all seen with loo rolls!). We need to have the stock here to prescribe when patients need it urgently, not sitting in someone’s kitchen cabinet unused.


Because of periodic supply difficulties, for any ad-hoc orders please order one week in advance of when you need your medication. Most people order when they collect (or we will order it for you if someone else is delivering it) which is ideal, especially at the moment. See below for safe ways to collect your medication or to have them delivered.


We are cancelling all routine medication reviews and will continue to issue your repeat medications even if you are overdue for review.  If you are past your annual review date the GP will check your medical record and may telephone you for a medication review.

Collection of Medication:

  • Please collect all prescriptions in the mornings (before 1pm) wherever possible.  This is to ensure that healthy patients do not come into the surgery when we are seeing respiratory patients in the afternoons. 
  • This means the mornings will be even busier than normal in the dispensary so we are operating a “one-in, one-out” queue with patients waiting on the bench outside the front door, and on cushions along the wall. 
  • If you prefer to wait in your car, or on the bench we’ve placed in the car park (opposite the dispensary window, in the sun!) give your name to the receptionist and we will bring your medication out to you. Or come to the dispensary window and we will pass your meds out to you.


Village Collections

The collection points in village shops in Burton Bradstock, Abbotsbury and Martinstown are still open. (Martinstown village shop is closing now at 2pm.)  Please collect prescriptions promptly from these collection points as they have very limited storage space and anything left uncollected may have to be returned to the surgery after one week.

The White Horse in Litton Cheney and The Crown in Puncknowle are both closed. However you can still have your meds delivered to the White Horse which will be open every Saturday morning for one hour, currently from 9.30 am, for you to collect them.  Please check the Litton Cheney Observer facebook page for any alterations to this time.  If you can’t get there, publican Andy Venning has kindly offered to deliver whatever is left himself over the weekend, and if you need something more urgently please contact the surgery and our staff will deliver to Litton Cheney, Little Bredy and Long Bredy.

Similarly our staff will deliver where they can within Puncknowle and Burton Bradstock. For other villages, and where you do not wish to come either to the Surgery or to a village collection point, please contact your local volunteer groups or ask us for details.

We have had volunteers come forward for Langton Herring and I am sure we will soon be told the arrangements for other areas so please ask us and we will make sure you get your medications delivered to your door in good time!  

If you can help an isolated neighbour by collecting their medications for them, please let us know.

Telephone Advice:

Our phone lines will be much busier than normal because our GPs will be doing more telephone consultations.  Please therefore do not call us for general advice on things like whether you should travel, whether you should attend a hospital appointment or chose to self-isolate.   These decisions are up to you; we can only help with medical queries.  The NHS websites mentioned above are an excellent source of information and advice which is updated daily so please look here first, or follow the news bulletins on TV and radio.

If you have a non-urgent medical query, including for things like sick notes or queries about a referral, you can now contact us using eConsult.  This may save you queuing on the phone and you will get an answer from the appropriate team within 48 hours.  There is a link on our home page and there is more information here

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