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Latest News

Update from The Blackdown Practice


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have needed to change quite dramatically how we deliver healthcare across the Blackdowns… and we have had to do it very quickly.

Different types of appointments/consultations

It can be hard to know what to do if you're unwell when the advice is not to go into the surgery in person. However, it's still important to get medical help from us if you need it and we can now offer, in addition to a telephone consultation, on-line or video consultations. We are also still seeing patients for face to face appointments when it is needed and safe to do so.

Some routine clinics have continued, for example patients who require regular blood tests because of the medicines they are taking, cancer screening, and children who still need their vaccinations. As national restrictions are changed, other more routine appointments will be reintroduced. For those people who usually access our services at Churchinford, we are constantly reviewing when to reopen the Churchinford site.


If you receive regular repeat medications, you will have realised that we have changed how prescriptions are ordered, dispensed, and delivered. This is to support social distancing and reduce the spread of the virus to protect our patients and staff, our community, and to ensure healthcare services can be provided safely across the Blackdown Hills at this very difficult time.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who have supported us in the delivery of medication; they have been truly remarkable in what they have achieved.

The Practice would also like to thank our patients for their understanding of the challenges we faced in rearranging our services, and the key workers from all sectors for their support in delivering services to the Practice and community.

Moving Forward

We have needed to implement a significant amount of change within a short space of time and we could not have done this without your support, we thank you and applaud you all.

Over the coming months as the national guidance changes, we look forward to continuing to develop our services that balance the needs of those who wish to embrace the digital age, but also those who need to be, and prefer to be, seen face to face. Once things are back to as normal as normal can be, The Practice would welcome patients who wished to be involved in shaping services and protecting the future health provision in the Blackdown Hills, to be part of the patient group (in whatever form this may take).

Please continue to keep safe.

COVID-19 Children's Booklet

A booklet has been developed for children about Coronavirus Coronavirus - a booklet for children

Coronavirus - Advice for Patients


You should self-isolate if you have a new continuous cough OR a fever OR a loss of/change in smell or taste.  You should stay at home for 7 days, or longer if you still have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste.  Members of your household should also self isolate for 14 days as per the current guidelines.  For further guidance, visit or if you require medical advice visit the NHS 111 website.

Routine Appointments

Due to the current public health situation, we are not booking face to face routine appointments for non-urgent matters.  This is because we need to keep appointments available for patients who are acutely unwell and also to prepare for the possibility of there being less staff available to run clinics in the practice.  However, if you have an urgent problem that means you need to be seen, please ring the surgery and ask to book a telephone appointment with a clinician.

Dispensary Services

Hemyock Dispensary - The dispensary itself and the dispensary phone line are now open to patients between 10am and 12pm, and 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Saturday remains the same hours - 8am to 11am. Dunkeswell opening hours are unchanged at the moment.

We have taken this decision in order to help with the increased workload, to plan for an anticipated reduction in staffing, and also because there will be less patients coming into the surgery.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

From 6th April we are aiming to dispense and deliver to the majority of our patients at home.  We are also taking repeat prescription request slips back in straight away so that we can plan our workload for your next supply.  You will not receive your regular medication any earlier, but it will allow us to dispense your prescription and deliver it in plenty of time. Please find the revised dispensary services information leaflet Dispensary Services During The Pandemic

We are aiming to dispense repeat medication within 7 days of the request being received, and delivering the medication within 10 days.  This is so we can manage the dispensing workload and plan deliveries.  If you are going to run out of medication within 10 days of putting in your request, then please let us know on the repeat request form, via you on-line repeat request, or if absolutely necessary by telephone.

This is a huge change in the way we work. If you have a supply that will last you 10 days, please do not telephone the surgery to check when your medication is ready/being delivered as this means a dispenser answering the telephone rather than dispensing and this will increase the wait for dispensed medications. However, please do telephone the surgery if you find that you are down to your last 4 days of medication and you have not heard from us about a delivery.

You can still request your prescriptions in the same way, even at Churchinford as the repeat requests  forms will still be collected.

We are moving to ordering patients regular medication in advance so we can plan the workload and deliveries during this difficult time.

Temporary Closure of Churchinford Surgery

From 12:30pm, Wednesday 25th March, Churchinford Surgery will be closed as we need to move clinical and reception staff elsewhere.  All medication and surgery supplies will be relocated.  Although it is unclear at present when the surgery will reopen, please be assured that we fully intend to reopen as soon as circumstances allow.

On-line Consultations - Available Now

Find out more about eConsult here -> eConsult Information Video with Sub-titles 

You are now able to pay by Debit card

You can now use your debit card (not credit cards) to pay for your prescriptions, travel vaccinations, private medicals (e.g. HGV), and other services that are not provided on the NHS. 

You will still be able to pay by cash or cheque if you prefer.

Latest Minutes from the Patient Participation Group

The latest notes of the Patient Participation Group meeting are now available in the Patient Participation Group Section of the website.

Booking Appointments On-line

We are increasing the number of appointments that are available to be booked by patients on-line.  Over the year, at least 25% of all practice appointments will be available.

GP Appointments.  Up to six appointments for each GP working each day will be available to book.  These are 10-minute appointments so if you need longer, please ring the surgery and speak to Reception.

Blood tests will also be available to book on-line.  Please note that these should only be booked if you have been asked to have a blood test by a GP or a hospital.

It will also be possible to book cervical smear appointments on-line.

When you have logged-on and clicked 'New booking' you will see a list of the various appointment types available - simply click on the one you want to book.

If you cannot find a suitable appointment on-line, please ring Reception who will be able to help you as they will have access to other appointments.

Watch the latest Video on Cervical Screening

Cervical Screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.  You can watch the latest video from Cancer Research UK on cervical screening by clicking here.

Potential Telephone Scam

We have received two reports, one from a patient at the Blackdown Practice and one from another Practice that they have received telephone calls from someone claiming to be from an on-line pharmacy. The person calling knows the patient’s name, on one occasion the date of birth and says that they understand that the person they are calling is on repeat medicines.

This is a scam. We suggest that you hang up the telephone. Please do not supply them with any personal details and do not telephone them back.

We are reporting this to the local fraud team.

Evening and weekend appointments

We are pleased to be working with Devon Doctors so that GP appointments are now available for our patients at Tiverton Hospital during the weekday evenings and at weekends.

To access these appointments please call Devon Doctors on 01392 822354. This telephone line is open 8:00am-6:30pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am-1:00pm over weekends and bank holidays.

Please note the 01392 822354 is for booking weekday evening and weekend appointments only. If you need an appointment at your usual surgery during the day, you can contact us on the usual surgery numbers between 8:30am-6:00pm Monday to Friday.

To access the out of hours service, you still telephone 111. 

CQC Inspection - The Practice was rated as Outstanding

The practice was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in June 2016.  It was rated as Outstanding.

You can read the report here -> CQC Inspection report

The CQC also issued a press release which can be read here -> CQC Press Release

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