Safety measures

COVID-19 : Visiting your GP Surgery 

COVID-19 protections are still in place in surgery.

In line with Government guidance patients are required to continue to wear a face covering in all healthcare settings.
Face coverings primarily protect others, so doing so is key to preventing spread of infection.

Continue to respect the 2m social distancing.

Test and isolate if you have any symptoms : If you have symptoms you MUST get a PCR test AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and before visiting your GP surgery. Rapid lateral flow tests should NOT be used to confirm infection. It's vital that you and anyone in your household isolate until you receive your test result, and for 10 days thereafter if the result is positive.

Wash / sanitise regularly.

We thank you for your support.


What You Need to Know

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. In England, the COVID-19 vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

The NHS vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. There have been over 322,000 jabs administered in Northumberland. We’ve vaccinated 92% of over 40s, given second doses to 90% of people over 65 and 91% of our care home residents have received both doses.

Booking earlier second COVID-19 vaccine dose appointment (cohorts 1 – 9)

In line with JCVI and government guidance, the NHS is contacting people most at risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus (cohorts 1-9) to book an earlier appointment for their second dose of the vaccine. People in this group will be able to have their second dose between eight and 12 weeks instead of the 11 to 12 weeks specified in previous guidance. As part of this, the National Booking Service is contacting people who booked through this service (either online or through calling 119) to book an earlier appointment.

If an individual booked and received their first dose of the vaccine through a local service and not through the National Booking Service, the local NHS will contact them with details on booking their second dose.

How do I rebook through National Booking Service (NBS)?

You should wait to be contacted. If you already have a second dose appointment that is soon, we would recommend keeping that appointment.

The NHS is working hard to ensure people in cohorts 1-9 can book an earlier appointment, at eight weeks or as soon as possible after that. If you want to book an earlier appointment, you should.

  1. Go to and click on book or manage your COVID-19 vaccination.
  2. On the main booking page, click on manage my appointments.
  3. Enter your personal details and then the booking reference for your existing second dose appointment. This can be found in your text or email confirmation of your booking if you provided your contact details.
  4. When you are in your appointment page, in order to book an earlier appointment, you will first need to cancel your existing appointment by clicking on cancel appointment. NOTE: It is not currently possible to see what other appointments are available until you have cancelled your existing appointment.
  5. When you have cancelled your appointment you can book a new appointment. Any new appointments offered to you will be in line with the JCVI and government guidance. I.e. they will be eight weeks after your first dose appointment or as soon as possible after that.

You can also ring 119. Please note that call handlers in 119 use the same system to book appointments as is available on so the call handler will need to cancel the existing appointment before seeing what time, date and location options are available for booking an earlier appointment.

If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it is really important that you attend as planned. The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need to get a second dose, so we are urging people to come back when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked. 


  • Unless you are in the groups being invited now, please DO NOT contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time.
  • Please DO NOT turn up too early for your appointment. Please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose.
  • You will NOT be able to choose which vaccine you receive on the day.
  • Whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives. Full guidance can be found here. 

Vaccine Passport

From 17 May 2021, people in England who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine. Vaccine status will be available from: 

  • the NHS App which you can download from app stores 

  • the NHS website 

  • 119 - by requesting a paper letter

You will need to register to use the online services, if you have not already. It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified.

If you cannot access the online services, and you have had both doses of the vaccine, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you are due to travel outside the UK in the near future and have had your second dose more than 5 working days ago. It may take up to 7 working days for the letter to arrive.

This practice is not able to provide you with a letter that shows your COVID-19 vaccination status. Please do not contact the practice about your COVID-19 vaccination status unless you have been advised to by the 119 service.

When you're planning your travel, you should check the latest information on demonstrating your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad on the website. Make sure there is enough time to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status before you are due to travel.



Since 29th December West Northumberland Primary Care have vaccinated around 12,000 people including patients in care homes from Allendale to Riding Mill as well as their staff and invited all of our patients in priority groups 1-5 (patients 70 and over, front line health and social care staff and patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable).


Currently we are inviting patients from cohort 6, this includes 60 – 64 year old with underlying health conditions, these patients are those who are invited for annual flu vaccinations. We contact patients in age order from oldest to youngest and we will be in touch accordingly.


This month the Hexham Primary Care Hub have started giving patients their second vaccination, the first issued are for those who are in Cohort 1 and received their vaccination in December 2020.


We are aware patients have been receiving invitations from NHS England to book via the national booking service. You can arrange these appointments online or by calling 119 as stated in the letter or text message. If you receive a letter please read the letter through and follow the guidance documented. The national booking service offer appointments at alternative vaccination centres, currently the closest site to Haltwhistle is The Centre For Life in Newcastle. We are aware that these appointments do fill and other sites are offered however appointments become available on a regular basis so it is best to keep check.


We do advise if possible to take up the opportunity of a vaccination at an alternative centre that is offered as it ensures you will get your vaccination sooner than can be offered at your local practice We do understand not everyone is able to attend other sites therefore please wait for your surgery to contact you, we do not have a lead time on when you will receive your call but you will not be missed. Your surgery is aware of your vaccination status, when you receive your vaccination the surgery is informed and your record is updated therefore the systems in place identify those who have not yet had theirs and are awaiting an invitation.


Because vaccinations are received at short notice and weekly quantities vary it is not possible for us to predict when we will be contacting patients individually so we ask that you wait patiently and understand things are progressing quickly, we are trying to share the information as soon as is practically possible. We continue to receive a high volume of calls from patients who have been invited through the national booking system or are asking to book an appointment which is impacting on calls from patients who are trying to reach us with medical problems.


When we contact you it will be via a text message with a booking link if you have a mobile number, if you do not respond to this or do not have a mobile number we will follow this up with a telephone call to a land line. Please note the only information we require from you are your name and date of birth, if you receive any correspondence from sources claiming to be the NHS requesting bank details - this will be a scam, we will not ask for any banks details or any other personal information.


The practice has not set the criteria for the vaccination programme, we are responding as quickly and efficiently as we can, and often at very short notice, to instructions from NHS England. Mass vaccination sites such as the Centre For Life are set up for large scale vaccinating as they have the equipment, storage and staffing in place. Hubs and surgeries are working to a much smaller and restricted capacity as it is additional workload to daily general practice, our staff are working under a lot of pressure and are doing our best to provide as much information and support where we can.

Our staff are currently working under a lot of pressure organising vaccines, arranging appointments and working at the vaccination clinics in addition to all of the GP practice workload. Thank you to everyone who has shown consideration and patience towards our team as we continue to roll out the #COVID19 vaccines in Northumberland. We understand that some people are both keen and anxious to receive their vaccination but please be kind. Abuse towards practice staff will not be tolerated. Remember, it’s not okay : To raise your voice, to physically threaten or to swear or intimidate. Our practice team are here to look after you, we appreciate your support and understanding.



Recovering from COVID

Recovering from COVID-19 can have a physical and mental impact on a person, it has been recognised that some people who have suffered from COVID-19 can take longer to recover than others but there are steps that can be taken to help this process. is a website available to help you or someone you know to better understand what has happened and what might expected as part of the recovery process.

Vaccination News:

Covid Vacc

At the beginning of December we had the wonderful news that the first vaccination against covid-19 had been approved for use in the UK and they began the first phase of the programme on the 8th December 2020.


We have been receiving calls from patients asking for more details but at the present time we have no further information about the timing of any vaccine deliveries locally or when different groups of patients will be vaccinated.


Patients are advised that they will receive a letter or be contacted in due course once it's time to arrange their vaccination. The letter will include all the information you will need to book an appointment. We believe that a temporary vaccination centre will be erected in a Hexham site soon or you may be asked to go to a different surgery to the one you usually attend to get your vaccine. Your appointment will only take around ten minutes and you will need to stay at the surgery for 15 minutes after you receive the vaccination.


Please do not attend or call the surgery about the vaccine or to get an appointment until you receive your vaccination invitation letter so phone-lines are open and clear for patients who need medical attention. Your support is appreciated.


Find out more about the roll out at :


For up to date national restrictions please follow the link to find out about the new guidelines and what you can and cannot do

The link below provides useful information on the vaccine or see below the printable version of the Covid Vaccination – adults guide.

 Covid Vaccination - Guide For Adults

Remember ‘Hands. Face. Space.’:

• Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds

• Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

• Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)




Covid-19 Vaccine FAQs


Q: How do vaccines work?

A: Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by training the immune system to recognise and fight pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.


Q: Why do I need a Covid-19 vaccination?

A: The pandemic has cost the lives of 1.5 million people so far and has infected 65 million. While vaccination is not compulsory, vaccination is the best way of beating this virus and getting back to normality. The vaccines that are being developed and approved by MHRA are safe and fully recommended.


Q: How is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine delivered?

A: It is given as an intramuscular injection into the arm (like the flu jab)


Q: Why are two doses needed?

A: The first dose primes the immune system to the virus and the second dose makes the immune response stronger. You will need to have both doses to be fully protected against Covid-19. There are a number of other vaccines that require a second dose or boosters (such as Hepatitis B vaccine).


Q: How quickly after the second dose can I be considered protected?

A: You can be considered protected seven days after the second dose.


Q: Will I need another booster every year like flu vaccine?

A: We don’t know this yet and more work is being done to look into this and how long immunity lasts for.


Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provide lifelong protection against Covid-19?

A: We don’t know this yet but it is likely to give protection for many months if not years.


Q: Why do I need to have had the flu vaccine first?

A: Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family and your patients from flu. There must be at least seven days between receiving a flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s recommended you get your flu vaccine as soon as possible, so you can also be protected against Covid-19 as soon as you are offered that vaccine.


Q: Is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine safe?

A: Yes. The UK Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the vaccine on 2 December 2020. This agency has assessed all the data from clinical trials involving thousands of participants and has deemed the vaccine safe.


Q: What’s the process of testing a vaccine and how have Covid-19 vaccines been developed so quickly?

A: Any new medications including vaccines are rigorously tested and trailed before being licenced for use. This process often takes many years and has different phases. Due to the pandemic, finding a vaccine was the main focus of governments and the scientific community. This meant that funding and resources were rapidly available. All of the critical phases / stages that must be included in drug testing were carried out. They were scheduled in a different way to make the process as efficient as possible without compromising safety.


Q: Have the vaccines been tested on enough people?

A: Yes. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been tested on more than 44,000 people. To put this in context, of 13 common vaccines approved between 2000-2011, the average number of participants was 27,000 (range 2,700- 86,000) highlighting that the number of people it has been tested on is well within the expected number for a vaccine.


Q: How effective was the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: Pfizer/BioNTech evaluated 170 cases of Covid-19 in trial participants. Of these cases, 162 occurred in the placebo group and eight in the vaccine group. This means the vaccine is 95% effective.


Q: Is there anyone who can’t have the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: There are very few people who can’t have the vaccine. However, current guidance states that the following groups should not have the vaccine at present:


  • Individuals participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Where an individual has a bleeding disorder AND their doctor recommends against IM or small dose injections on the balance of risk, which may include consideration of anticoagulation therapy status.
  • Pregnant women, unless an underlying condition makes the individual at very high risk from COVID-19 and exposure cannot be avoided
  • Breast-feeding mothers.
  • Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector).


Q: How long should I wait after the vaccine before planning a pregnancy?

A: It is advised that you should avoid pregnancy for two months after the second dose.


Q: What if I want to try for pregnancy before I’m vaccinated?

A: The advice for women is that you should not get vaccinated if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose.


Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine affect my fertility?

A: There is no evidence that the vaccine has any impact on fertility.


Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine stop me passing Covid-19 onto unvaccinated people?

A: We don’t know this information yet.


Q: Will I get a certificate to prove I’ve been vaccinated?

A: We are awaiting guidance from the government about certification.


Q: I’ve already had confirmed Covid-19 infection. Do I still need to be vaccinated?

A: Yes. It is still unclear how long immunity lasts so vaccination is still recommended. It should be deferred until clinical recovery and at least four weeks after onset of symptoms or four weeks from the first PCR positive test result in those who have no symptoms.


Q: What if I have asymptomatic Covid-19 infection at the time of vaccination?

A: Vaccination of individuals who may be infected or asymptomatic or incubating COVID-19 infection is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on the illness.


Q: Will I still need to wear PPE after being vaccinated?

A: Yes, you will still need to adhere to all infection, prevention and control practices which remain the safest way to avoid spreading the virus – remember hands, face, space.


Q: If I am part of the asymptomatic testing programme, will having the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine cause me to have a positive test (on either the PCR or lateral flow testing kits)?

A: No. Vaccination itself will not cause a positive Covid-19 test result.


Q: What are the side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: The side effects which you could experience with the vaccine are similar to those seen with other vaccines and can include a mild fever for the first 48hrs after vaccination (please note isolation is not required unless Covid-19 suspected). Local reactions at the injection site are common and include pain, redness and swelling. Other potential side effects include fatigue (4%) and headache (2%). They will usually resolve after a few days and medication such as paracetamol can be used if needed.

Q: Might there be long term side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine we don’t know about yet?

A: This is extremely unlikely. The way vaccines work mean that any side effects are usually experienced in the first few days and the data we have shows that is the case for this vaccine. The MHRA will be monitoring the situation closely.




Practice News


In line with new Government recommendations, it is a requirement for patients to wear a face covering when entering the surgery. If you do have an appointment we would be grateful if you could come with your face covering on – covering your nose, mouth and chin. This can be in the form of a mask, scarf or handkerchief of any sort of fabric. This is to help lower the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.


Unfortunately we are unable to supply face masks to anyone entering the premises due to lack of supply but they must be worn to enter the building.


A text message has been sent to all with a mobile number on their record.

If you have not received a text message but think you should have or would like to receive texts in the future please contact the surgery with your mobile number and we can update your record to allow for this. The text messaging service is a great way to get free, up to date information from the practice.

If you have not received a text message but think you should have or would like to receive texts in the future please contact the surgery with your mobile number and we can update your record to allow for this. The text messaging service is a great way to get free, up to date information from the practice. 


All GP and Practice Nurse appointments will initially be by telephone - Please ensure we have your up to date telephone contact details.Please only attend the surgery if you have been given an appointment to attend - Please attend alone unless you require a parent/carer to be present, please wear a face covering at all times and observe the 2m social distancing rule.



Unfortunately we are unable to supply face masks to anyone entering the premises due to lack of supply but they must be worn to enter the buildiIf you have a paper prescription request, please leave the requests in the external post box (black post box on the wall to the left hand side of the main entrance.) Alternatively you may call the surgery on 01434 320077 and select option 2 leaving your name, date of birth and items you require or order your prescription online. Please ensure you allow up to 4 working days for your request to be processed.


Cervical Smear Appointments

We are operating our cervical screening as normal, appointments are availalbe at the GP surgery and can b ebooked over the telephone on 01434 320077 or online. We also can access smear appointments at the Corbridge Hub on evenings and weekends if you find it difficult to attend during our core hours.If you have received your smear letter and haven't booked an appointment then we would encourage you to do so.



We have introduced a new way for patients to contact the practice using an online facility called E-Consult, this service will enable any patient to make direct contact with the practice through a series of questions and prompts simply by clicking the blue banner on the home screen of the website patient information, question or query will be sent direct to the practice via a secure email facility and the practice will respond by the end of the next working day.




General NHS advice


For expert information and advice on how COVID-19 impacts specific palliative or  long-term conditions and how to manage your condition during the pandemic.




Alzheimer’s disease

Sickle cell disease

Chronic kidney disease

Cystic fibrosis

Motor neurone disease


End of life care

End of life care – Changes in the last hours and days



Other Patient information links


Pituitary/ adrenal insufficiency (including steroid sick day rules)


Underlying lung disease (British Lung Foundation)


People with Asthma


People with Diabetes


People affected by Stroke


Pregnant women


Children/young people T1 diabetes


People with Heart/circulatory disease


Older people 


Young people with anxiety


Adults with anxiety


People with Rheumatoid Arthritis


People with cancer


People with inflammatory bowel disease


People with Parkinson’s disease


People with Multiple Sclerosis


People with liver disease and liver transplant


People with kidney disease including dialysis


People with epilepsy


Mental Health and Abuse Support Services


  • Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services

Supporting anyone affected by domestic abuse in Northumberland

01434 608030 10am-4.30pm Monday to Friday

  • If U Care Share

Support for those affected by suicide Tel: 0191 387 5661

  • Grace Rape Crisis

Counselling service for victims of sexual abuse Tel: 0800 035 2794

  • Tyneside and Northumberland Mind

Counselling for those affected by suicide or a traumatic death. Tel: 0191 477 4545

  • Talking Matters Northumberland

Psychological Therapies Tel: 0300 3030 700


  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Children and young person’s primary mental health primary-mental-health Tel: 01661 864 588


Keeping People Connected Short-term support service for people who have learning disabilities and/or autism Tel: 01434 600 599


  • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

24-hour access to mental health care, advice and support Tel: 0303 123 1146 (for all ages in need of an urgent response)

  • Cygnus

Mental health and wellbeing services Bereavement and generalised mental health counselling Tel: 01670 853 977

  • BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service)

Pregnancy termination and counselling Tel: 03457 30 40 30

  • Barnardo’s

Services for children and young people:

  • Sexual abuse counselling
  • Bereavement counselling
  • Trailblazer group work Tel: 0191 212 0237




Is the GP Surgery still open ?


Yes, we remain open.  BUT we ask that you DO NOT attend the surgery unless you have been advised to do so by a member of our team.  Appointments are being done via telephone and when helpful GPs and Practice Nurses can use video consulting. When you request a GP or Practice Nurse telephone appointment, we cannot specify which doctor or nurse will ring you or give an exact time due to workload demands but will specify which day the call will take place.  Please help us by ensuring we have your up-to-date telephone number and keep your phone to hand to take the call. Please bear with us if the phones are busy or there are delays in returning your calls.


Should I come to the Surgery ?


Please do not arrive unannounced as you will not be seen.  While most people with COVID-19 will have symptoms such as new persistent cough or a fever, some people will have no symptoms at all but will be spreading the virus. We are trying to ensure our team can stay healthy so we can help our patients.  We also do not want to inadvertently pass on the virus to our patients.  So we have to weigh the risks to you and us of face to face consultations, versus the risk of you not being seen face to face.  The fewer patients we see, the less chance there is of the virus being passed on. However, there are some patients who have to be seen for regular blood tests and immunisations, the Doctor or Nurse will assess the need for this. 


What about ordering medication ?


We are processing medication requests as normal.  All of the pharmacies are experiencing very high workloads and are asking for longer to have your medication ready for collection/delivery.   Please note paper prescriptions requests usually handed in at the surgery should be left in the letter box on the outside of the building. If you would like to order your prescription over the telephone, call 01434 320077, select option 2 and leave your request on the messaging facility. 


How can patients help ?


Currently the best and most important thing you can do is STAY AT ALERT, STAY SAFE. If you do have to attend the surgery, for example for an appointment such as a blood test, please keep your visit brief, use the hand sanitiser provided in the waiting room and stay 2 meters apart from other patients and staff where possible.   Even if you have a booked appointment do not attend if you have symptoms of COVID-19.  Please help us to stay healthy so we can help others.


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