Coronavirus - how we are responding and what this means for our patients


Following government advice we are changing our appointment system from Monday 16th March 2020.

  • If you suspect you have Coronavirus (fever >37.8, continuous cough, loss of smell or taste or breathlessness) please self-isolate at home and check NHS website for further advice and details how to do this, and when to seek further help.
  • Anyone who requests an appointment will need to speak to a GP first, reception will take your contact details and we will phone you back as soon as we can.
  • If you think your problem can be dealt with by email please use our e-consult service accessed via our website. This might be good for repeat fit notes/ medication that is not on repeat or any other problem that you think is appropriate.
  • We will do as many appointments by telephone or video link (via a smartphone) as we can.
  • We will continue to see people in surgery if needed following a telephone call.
  • Please do not turn up at the surgery without an appointment, please telephone or email first.
  • Currently appointments with our nursing team will continue but please telephone if you would like to postpone or rearrange. We will be monitoring the situation closely regarding routine tests.
  • Please request medication on line or via the NHS app where possible, and nominate a pharmacy to collect it from.

We are still available for you, but these measures are being taken to protect vulnerable people and to protect our staff, as well as dealing with increased patient numbers and staff sickness.

We understand how worried people are feeling, and we do not want to add to this worry - hopefully these measures will reassure you that we are working hard to stop unnecessary spread of infection whilst still being able to support people who need us.

See also what is available in the community as support. [click here]

Guidance for parents who are concerned about sending their children to school

We are aware that some parents might be understandably anxious about the Government's recent announcement advising that some children can return to school from 1st June 2020 (the ages and which children may vary from school to school). We have had this advice from the Local Medical Committee, the statutory body that advises GPs in Gateshead.

GP practices are unfortunately not in a position to provide individual risk assessments or letters to a child in order to confirm their suitability or otherwise to return to school.

Parents are advised to follow the most up to date national guidance which can be found at

However schools have had instructions around protecting children through social distancing, cleaning, class sizes and so on, to minimise the risks while children are at school.

In particular:

  • children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and are shielding should continue to shield; they would not be expected to return. The shielding criteria and advice can be found here. 
  • Clinically vulnerable are those who are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, but not in the shielding group. A minority of children will fall into this category; this generally relates to people who get the flu jab each year for medical reasons rather than age. Childre would be expected to return to school if strict social distancing measures are in place. Parents should follow medical advice (click here) if their child is in this category and is unwell
  • Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is shielding should only attend school if strict social distancing can be adhered to and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions
  • Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (not not shielding), which includes those who are pregnant, can attend.

More information and advice can be found at: 

Covid-19 and your information - Updated on 8th April 2020

Supplementary privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients/

This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available at

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.

Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data.  Further information is available on here and some FAQs on this law are available here.

During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information.  This includes National Data Opt-outs.  However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply.  It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.

In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email. 

During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video-conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.

We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of

  • protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and
  • managing the outbreak.  Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.   

NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves.  All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.  

In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you.  Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.

We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.