Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before you send us your question, you may find your answer here.

This section has been split into groups, please click the sections below to find what you are looking for.

-Online Access, Administrative / Secretarial, Clinical, Tests and Test Results, Prescription and Medication questions

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please send us your enquiry.

Administrative / Secretarial Questions

Thank you for your positive feedback about our staff or services. If you are able to, please consider adding a review on either our NHS Choices page or on our Google reviews section

Google – Spinney Surgery reviews

Please only refer to the team that helped you rather than name anyone specifically.

We thank you again in advance for your kind words.

Here are links to the current waiting lists at our local hospitals.

 NHS – Royal Papworth Hospital

You have requested a letter to help with housing. You need to complete a self-assessment form first and this is usually all that is necessary. This form is available from the Council (Local Authority). Here is some more information and the reasons why GPs do not usually supply letters to help with housing requests. 

Cambs LMC – Housing Application

Cambs LMC – Local Authorities

If the council / local authority require specific medical information, they will need to obtain your formal written consent before they write to us for this.

Proof of a medical problem – This is not usually required and a note from a parent or guardian is generally sufficient. Any request for medical information needs to come directly from the school with the parent or guardian’s formal written consent.  A fee will be payable from the school before this letter is released.  This work is not part of GMS contract and can be declined without explanation

Proof of absence – Unfortunately GPs do not provide proof of absence type “sick notes” for children. A note from the parent or guardian should be sufficient – Cambs LMC – Sick Notes for School Absence

Administering over-the-counter (OTC) Medication – You do not need a letter from the GP to allow the school to administer over-the-counter medication. Written permission from a parent or guardian is all that is required. The school will have a policy in place – Cambs LMC – Administering OTC Medicine

If you have requested a doctor’s letter for proof of illness as your child was not able to attend an exam or is not fit for an exam. This is not needed and you should approach the school for support with how to manage absence from exams.

Blue Badge – You are welcome to have a GP summary of your medical problems. You can access this on your NHS app. GPs do not assess the requirement for Blue Badges. If the Applications Assessors for the Blue Badge require specific medical information, they will write to us directly with your formal written consent included – Cambs LMC – Blue Badges

Help with a police, court or legal issue – You have requested a doctor’s letter to support your current issues within the justice system. GPs do not provide letters for this, whether requested by the patient or a solicitor. Your solicitor would have to approach a private specialist for a medical opinion. A letter may be provided if it is requested by the court or judge directly

You have requested a letter to expedite your hospital appointment. Patients are often told to get a letter from their GP for this, however, this is not usually required. You can contact the secretary of the hospital consultant to explain any change or deterioration of your condition and they will reassess and re-triage your referral.

PALS can also help

NHS North West Anglia – PALS – Complaints


Hospital contact numbers

Hinchingbrooke 01480 428964

Peterborough 01733 673405

Addenbrookes 01223 216756

You have requested a doctor’s letter to confirm you are fit to fly. We are not trained nor indemnified to assess and declare fitness to fly and you will need to seek the advice of an aviation medicine practitioner or a private GP yourself. Your NHS app will have details of your medical history and current medications.

Civil Aviation Authority – Fit to Fly Assessment

You can request a fit note through our online system Klinik.

You have requested a fit note (sick note). As it is for less than 7 days, a fit note is not required and you are able to self-certify. You can complete the form online. If you need a fit note after 7 days, please request this via our online form.

Gov.UK – Statutory Sick Pay Request

GOV.UK – Employee Statement of Sickness

Call 0345 6038117

Or visit NHS – Patient transport service

Clinical Questions

You have contacted us for medical advice while you are abroad. While you are abroad and out of the UK, unfortunately we cannot provide medical advice. Our clinicians are not insured to do so and the NHS does not provide care outside of the UK. You will need to seek local medical advice.

I have joint pain or muscle pain and I have been advised to book with the pharmacist.

You have informed us that you have concern about your joints or muscles. Please book an appointment with our in-house physiotherapist. They can assess, treat and advise on joint and muscle problems. Alternatively you can self-refer to the physiotherapy service. 

Dynamic Health – Physiotherapy Self Referral

A pharmacist can help with many conditions including what you have enquired about. You can visit a pharmacy at a location of your choice.

NHS – Find a pharmacy

Early Pregnancy – You can contact the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) directly and do not need a GP appointment or referral. Early pregnancy unit (EPU) 01733 673758 

Womens health peterborough – Early Pregnancy

Abortion – Here is some information. You do not need a GP appointment and you can contact them yourself. 01733 673758 Peterborough Early pregnancy unit (EPU)

Womens Health Peterborough – Abortion

Here are some resources for prevention of falls. You can refer yourself to the falls prevention service via HealthyYou.

Healthy You – Falls Prevention

Healthy you – Falls Management Exercise Programme    

NHS – Falls

Here is a link to refer yourself to podiatry about your foot or nail problem.

NHS – Podiatry   

Microsoft Forms – Self Referral Form

We have a Health and Wellbeing Coach who can help you with aspects of lifestyle, motivation and making positive changes. This can be around healthy diet, exercise, weight management and personal goals to name a few. This is a fantastic resource many of us would really benefit from. If you would like to make use of this, please send an online enquiry and we can do a referral for you.

Please look at the links below for support regarding Mental Health

NHS – Psychological Wellbeing Service Self-Referral Information

Keep your Head – Adult Mental Health

Do remember that you always have 111 option if you have any mental health crisis

You may have contacted us about a minor injury. You can attend a Minor Injury Unit in Ely, Doddington or Wisbech 8.30am-6pm

You can attend Peterborough Urgent Treatment Centre 8am-8pm 7 days a week.

You do not need to see your GP first.

These units are specifically designed to manage minor injuries such as sprains, fractures, minor eye problems, minor head injuries, burns and scolds.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG – Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment Centres

Please look at the links below for information regarding Common Childhood Illnesses

The Little Orange Book – Helping babies and young children when they are poorly

When Should I worry – Booklet

Social services for care assessment 0345 045 5202


PALS Hinchingbrooke 01480 428964 [email protected]

PALS Peterborough 01733 673405 [email protected]

PALS Addenbrookes 01223 216756 [email protected]

See the following websites on difficulties sleeping. It gives information on causes, lifestyle tips to sleep better and other treatment options.

Patient – insomnia

Sleepio – a sleep improvement program

The Sleep charity – adult support

Better Health – sleeping trouble

Headspace – How to sleep better

Online Access Questions

Our organisation code (ODS) is D81049

As per NHS guidelines, we will be switching off your proxy access to a child’s online services on their 11th OR 16th birthday. If your child would like you to continue having proxy access, they will need to let us know by calling the surgery or sending a signed letter of consent via email to [email protected]. This must be done by the patient and not a parent or guardian.

The Spinney makes every effort to keep your records accurate. However, occasionally information about you or your care may need to be amended. If you think that the health or care information in your record is factually inaccurate, you can ask for your record to be amended. Please make an online enquiry via Klinik with your concerns. If there is a factual inaccuracy regarding a diagnosis that is there in error, this will be checked by a GP and then your record will be amended. If it is regarding the detail of an entry then we will save your perspective into the record so that it can be seen. (It may take up to a month to change). Due to our clinicians having limited time during a consultation to record your information, there are often spelling errors or “typos” or grammatical errors in the notes. It is our practice policy that we do not amend such minor errors as this can take up valuable time from our clinicians that is then taken away from direct patient care.

It is now possible to order your medication, book some appointments and see new information like your results, letters and consultations added after the 1st November though the NHS app. Download the NHS app and register with it today.

Please search our website for “proxy access” and download the form. Complete the form with the person if possible. Please hand it in to the Surgery to be processed. You will be added to the list and contacted in turn. 

Spinney Surgery – Proxy Access

Prescription / Medication Questions

You have been advised to buy over-the-counter medication for your clinical problem. This is standard NHS guidance for some conditions

NHS – Prescription Change Leaflet

NHS – Why can’t I get a prescription for over-the-counter Medicine

You have requested to have more than 28 days of medication at a time. The practice policy is to prescribe 28 days supply. However, a second prescription can be obtained for holidays. For some medical conditions, a batch prescribing facility is available (this is not permissible for dispensing patients).

Spinney Surgery – prescriptions

You can easily set up a prepayment certificate to use straight away. 

NHS – Prescription Prepayment Certificate

You have requested your controlled drug earlier than agreed. We will only prescribe the medication weekly/monthly and will not be able to prescribe earlier for safety reasons. If you have lost your medication you must report this to the police to obtain a crime number.

ou are able to have up to 3 months’ supply of your regular repeat medication when leaving the UK. This is to allow you time to find local healthcare to take over prescribing while outside the UK. Unfortunately the NHS does not provide care outside of the UK.

NHS – can I take my Medicines Abroad

We are occasionally asked by patients to prescribe sedating medication for flying. Unfortunately your request will be declined. We regret that we are not able to facilitate these requests on the grounds of patient safety and our need to prioritise the delivery of NHS care on the basis of patients’ clinical needs.

Spinney Surgery – medication request for flying

Here are some helpful resources for fear of flying

Easyjet – Fear of Flying Course

Fly Without

British Airways – flying with confidence

We are occasionally approached by patients and third party clinicians to prescribe sedating medication for anxiety during procedures they will be having outside of the Spinney Surgery (e.g. dental phobia or MRI) Unfortunately it is not the responsibility of the GP to provide this.

This should be discussed with the clinician carrying out the procedure who would be able to prescribe this if appropriate.

Spinney Surgery – Sedation for Procedures

You have requested a prescription for medication to take with you on holiday in case you get an illness eg travellers’ diarrhoea, ear infection, chest infection, urine infection etc. Unfortunately the NHS does not provide care outside of the UK. We are not indemnified to treat our patients while abroad. If you were to become unwell while abroad, you will need to seek local medical advice.

Your inhaler(s) has been changed from the MDI “puffer” type to a newer breath actuated version. These newer inhalers contain the same medication. They are much better for the environment and the NHS wants patients to be on these to reduce the NHS carbon footprint.

Green Inhaler – Homepage

NHS – Delivering a net zero

If you use the Lloyds app for ordering your medication, please change to using the NHS app as we will no longer support the Lloyds app. This is because your request comes through as an email which takes far longer to process and it can be missed. The NHS app is quick and links perfectly with our system. Lloyds will still deliver it for you so that will not change.

You are asking for medications that were recommended at your hospital clinic appointment. The hospital specialist will write a letter to the GP with specific recommendations.  There can be a delay of a few days or several weeks for the letter to be sent out from the hospital. When the GP receives the letter, the medication will be added (if appropriate) to your prescription. Occasionally specific medications have to be prescribed by the hospital and not the GP. The hospital doctor is able to write a prescription themselves and there are systems in place to send medication to patients. You are welcome to contact the hospital specialist directly to request the medication from them if you are concerned about any potential delay. The GP cannot prescribe this recommended medication until we have the clinic letter

Unfortunately GPs cannot provide dental advice, treatment or antibiotics for a dental problem. A dentist will need to assess you. If you do not have an NHS dentist, you can contact 111 who can help with dental problems and direct you to a local service. If you think you are unwell due to your dental problem then you will need to be assessed in A&E. Thank you for your understanding.

NHS – emergency or out of hours Dentist

Tests and Test Result Questions

ECG – You have informed us that you have read your ECG report and have concerns. Our ECGs are interpreted by clinicians. The ECG report often has information written that can be alarming. However, this tends not to be very accurate, helpful or clinically relevant and human interpretation takes priority.

24 Hour ECG – Here is some information.


British Heart Foundation – ECGs

ABPI is done to check for narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs. If the result is normal then the blood vessels are likely to be normal. If abnormal, a referral to the vascular team should be considered and discussed with you.

NHS – An Ankle Brachial Pressure Indices Test

You have reviewed your result in your notes and are concerned that they are abnormal but filed as normal. Test results are reviewed by clinicians who interpret these alongside many factors such as the medical history, trend or rate of change. A result outside the normal range may still be “normal for you”.

You have contacted us about your cervical screening result. You will get a letter with what it means for you and how often you will further screening tests. You will be invited for further screening via the screening program.

NHS – cervical Screening

You recently received a letter copied to you from us declining a request from hospital. We apologise if this was confusing or caused concern. Often, hospital clinicians ask GPs to carry out tests or requests that actually need to be done themselves. The letter is therefore to inform the clinician to organise their requests themselves. Please do contact them directly if you have any questions regarding this

Your recent hospital clinic letter is asking the GP to request some tests on their behalf. We will be sending them a letter advising that they need to organise these specific tests themselves and that the GP will not be doing this. You will be copied into this letter. Often, hospital clinicians ask GPs to carry out tests or requests that actually need to be done by the hospital teams themselves. Unfortunately, primary care is not funded or resourced to carry out work for hospital teams. Please do contact the hospital team directly if you have any questions about this.

Once you have had your test, your result will be available to you online using the NHS app or online. It is your responsibility and in your interest to check your results yourself. Further information is available here. 

Spinney Surgery – Test Results

If you are interested in a PSA blood test, please complete an online enquiry for this.  You will be asked to read through some information to make an informed choice. You will then be sent a link to book the blood test. It is best to have a prostate examination too as part of the assessment.

NHS – PSA testing

NHS – Should I have a PSA test?

Patient – PSA tests

If your question has not been answered, please click the link below to ask it using Klinik.

Contact us ONLINE!