Latest News

The Elms Medical Practice - still here when you need us most

(please also click on the Covid-19 tab at the top of the page for the very latest information

Following the COVID-19 booster announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday 12 December 2021, all GP practices and pharmacies are working to provide vaccinations for all eligible adults aged over 18 in line with national timeframes.


We will need to free-up staff to deliver this vaccination programme so we have to prioritise GP services and may have to pause some routine healthcare appointments. We will continue to deliver patient care and will focus our support on those most in need as outlined below.


If you have an appointment booked with us please assume that this is going ahead and attend as planned. We will contact you if we need to change your appointment: you do not need to contact us.


 Still here for you when you need us most


While we may need to pause some routine services, there are some things that we know cannot wait. Please ensure you contact us if you (or someone you care for)

  • have a serious or urgent health concern that you need to speak to someone about today;
  • have worrying symptoms that could be a sign of cancer and need investigating;
  • have been contacted about booking cervical and other screening or immunisations;
  • have a complex long-term condition that you need ongoing help with;
  • have a serious mental illness and need support;
  • have a learning disability and need medical help.


For all other things we would encourage you to seek help in other ways as described below.



Accessing our services


If phone lines are busy, please use our online 'eConsult' form to seek help (on Home Page). No registration or login is needed and very simple to use and we will be back in touch within 24-48 hours if not sooner dependant on staff availability.


When contacting us please tell us as much as you can about what’s wrong so that help direct you to the healthcare professional best suited for your health care needs which might be a GP, nurse or another specialist such as a physiotherapist, pharmacist or minor illness nurse. The information you provide will also help us to prioritise your care if it’s something urgent.


Our priority will be to ensure you receive care quickly and might offer you an telephone, video or face-to-face appointment, arrange a home visit or refer you to another service.



Other sources of help


There are a number of ways to get health advice and care if you, a family member or a friend feel ill.


  • Visit the NHS website– for advice and information on how to look after yourself and your family. It covers thousands of illnesses and conditions:
  • Visit a pharmacist– for expert advice and low-cost medicines to ease your symptoms and help treat your condition. Pharmacists are trained to spot worrying symptoms that require urgent medical help. Every area has a late opening pharmacy and most have consulting rooms where you can ask for advice in private. Go to to find your nearest open pharmacist.
  • Visit 111.nhs.ukor call 111 – for free, round the clock help when your GP is closed, when it’s an urgent but not a life-threatening 999 situation, or if you are unsure where to go to get the right help for your medical condition. You can telephone 111 to get straight through to mental health advice.



Housebound patients


We will continue to provide home visits, where necessary, for housebound patients who need to be see in person and who have no other alternative due to immobility or very serious ongoing health conditions.


Housebound patients are a priority for COVID-19 boosters. If you haven’t yet heard from us please be reassured that we will contact you to make an appointment as soon as we can. 

Covid-19 Medical Exemption Certificate

Please click on this LINK for government detailed information including who is able to apply for a certificate and how to apply. 

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status when travelling abroad: latest guidance is available here


We still have flu vaccines available - so please ensure you get a flu jab - we are able to do these in the surgery with nurse at your convenience


Keeping Safe 19th July onwards


Throughout the pandemic we have strived to make the surgery as safe as possible for all our patients and staff. We will continue to do so going forward.


From the 19th of July nothing will change at the surgery - patients will need to still wear a mask, socially distance and use hand sanitiser in the surgery and staff will continue to wear PPE.  We do understand that it can be frustrating, but we know that when people come to us they are sick and vulnerable (and some cannot receive the covid vaccinations due to medical reasons) so we feel it would be wrong to not take these small precautions that can protect people.


In terms of ‘opening up’, as many of you know, we have never been shut and in fact have consulted with much higher numbers of patients than we did pre-covid (face to face, by phone, by email, by video call).  On top of this we have worked hard, along with our volunteers to get as many patients vaccinated as possible.  We are still offering appointments for Covid vaccinations if you still need one.


The Harpenden and surrounding villages community has come so far in trying to minimise the impact of Covid and we are sure you understand that we need to keep the surgery as safe for ALL patients as we can.

We are continually monitoring the situation and will communicate to you any further changes as they happen. 

Harpenden Health PCN


We are here for you when you need us

We are here for you when you need us


Thank you to a very generous patient for this lovely cheerful rainbow light. It shines in our Reception area and lifts the team every day. Thank you 

Living well with Diabetes

An opportunity to join a webinar which considers living with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and its challenges, both physical and mental. Click here for details. 

Rethink Companions Carer Service

The Companions Carers support service provides support for mental health carers aged 18 and over in Hertfordshire.

The service provides: 

  • 121 support tailored to the carers individual needs to support them in their caring role
  • Caring and Coping Courses which cover topics such as Carers Rights, Carers Assessments, Carers Breaks and how to take care of your own well-being. We deliver these in partnership with Carers in Herts.
  • Other Carers courses such as Mental Health History and Assertiveness
  • Online Carers Group providing an opportunity for peer support 

For more information visit their website-  Click here

General Practice Data for Planning and Research

Concerned about your information being shared?  What you need to know.

Patient data from GP medical records kept by GP practices in England is used respectfully, securely and safely every day to improve health, care and services through planning and research, helping to find better treatments and improve patient care.  Data collected by the NHS is only used for health and care purposes. It is never shared with marketing or insurance companies.

The NHS is planning to introduce an improved way for GP practices to share information about patients- called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection.  News of these plans has caused some concern to some of our patients, who have decided that they don’t want their data to be involved.

We have now been informed that no data will be shared in this new way until certain safeguards and systems are in place. The delay will enable the national organisation, NHS Digital to clearly explain their plans to the public and health professionals, as well as to thoroughly investigate any concerns that have been raised. 

If you have already been in touch with the practice to ask to be ‘opted out’ of your identifiable information being shared outside of our practice for any purpose, your request will be honoured.  This will not affect your own care.  If you would like to find out more about why the NHS collects and uses data, please go to this website.

Thank you

My Care Record enables health and care professionals to access information about you to improve your care. The Elms Medical Practice is part of My Care Record, an approach to improving care by joining up health and care information. Wherever possible, health and care professionals will be able to access your records from other services when it is needed for your care. For example, a hospital doctor, community nurse, or social worker involved in your care could view the information they need from your GP record. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions and a list of the organisations that are taking part can be found on the My Care Record website 

'Redbourn Community Newsbite' - This was every Wednesday and we hope to to do something similar via ZOOM over the winter months for all our Patients. 

To begin with the Elms Practice Manager will give a weekly update followed by, important announcements and GP and Nurse health education. This will be in addition to a quarterly Patient Participation Group meeting.

Mount Vernon Cancer Centre Review

 For more information about the review and how to get involved, please visit where you can also find details of patient and public introductory and update events and patient and public workstreams.

Dear Patients,

Arthritis, cancer and diabetes engagement sessions have ended for May 2021.

Contact (Public Engagement Manager) for more information and possible further dates.


to the lovely person/persons who left these outside out front door. It made everyone's day and continues to make everyone smile. THANK YOU X

Thank You


 Appointments during the Pandemic - June 2021 

Earlier this year we moved to a new Clinical Computer System called EMIS. This affects our usual online digital services and necessitates a change for all patients to either register with the new online service called 'Patient Access' and/or download the NHS App. Both are linked to our clinical system and your records. Please look at our Online Services page for more information. If you do not wish to use our online facilities, please continue to request your repeat prescribing in the same way you have done in the past and please continue to call the practice on the phone if you wish to speak to a clinician.

On-line bookable telephone appointments for GPs are available again, although we are unable to set them too far in advance due short notice self-isolation and other unforeseeable Covid related national changes to Primary Care. If you book a telephone consultation , please be aware that the slot time is not exact and that a GP will aim to call patients within an hour of that allotted time.

We are now part of a Primary Care Network (Harpenden Health PCN) and all practices need to be on the same clinical system, hence the move to a new system called 'EMIS'. A huge upheaval for the practice and staff particularly in light of the COVID Pandemic, however we are excited by this as already benefitting our patients e.g. more after hours appointments available in Harpenden and St Albans. Also 111 and Herts urgent Care are now able to book directly into our system.

If you do need to ring the practice for an appointment, our receptionists will ask you questions to ascertain a little as to why you need an appointment. This is done under the guidance and training of the clinical team and it ensures we signpost you to the correct clinician and that all our patients are cared for effectively and appropriately. This can sometimes lead to longer waiting times on the phones but we have a full team answering calls and you will get through. Please be aware that we are now answering between 800 - 1,000 calls an hour and this too can lead to long delays on the phone, we apologise but at this demand level delays are inevitable.

If you have concerns you may have Covid symptoms or have become poorly with Covid, please call 111 or use their online services. Please always seek help, do not suffer in silence. Consultations will be either over the phone or face to face depending on the patients needs and whether the GP feels they need to see the patient. Patients may also be asked if they wish to have a video consultation if this is more suitable and convenient. The GP will text the video link to you. 

If you are invited to come to the surgery, please use the intercom at the main entrance to let us know you are here. You will be invited to sit in the waiting room or if you prefer you can wait outside or wait in your car ensuring we have your mobile number. When sitting in the waiting room please only used the clear chairs, all seats that must not be used are clearly marked at 2m distance. Chairs are sanistised between each patient. When attending the practice please ensure you are wearing a face mask at all times and use the hand sanitiser upon entry and exit.

Repeat prescriptions

We aim to send all prescriptions, including repeat prescriptions, through the electronic prescription service (EPS) to your nominated pharmacy. If you do not have a nominated pharmacy please ensure you choose one online or ask your usual pharmacy to set this up for you. You can also order your prescription direct through the pharmacy.

Any prescriptions not sent through EPS will need to be collected at the practice. If you haven’t nominated a pharmacy we will ask you to do so. Please wherever possible use our on-line system for ordering repeat prescriptions rather than coming to the practice to drop the prescription off. If you do drop the prescription off at the surgery please ensure it is in a sealed envelope. Prescriptions will be turned around as soon as we are able but please be advised that Pharmacies make take longer than usual to dispense them due to the high number of requests. Please allow 2-3 working days for repeat prescriptions.


If you currently manage your own prescription requests and your prescription can’t be sent through EPS to a nominated pharmacy you will need to contact the GP practice

Please be aware that home deliveries by community pharmacy is not an NHS funded service. Some pharmacies do offer a delivery service which you may be charged for.



Registering as a new patient with the Practice

Please either use our website registration facility or pick up a registration form. Once completed, either post these through the front door in a sealed envelope, post them through the royal mail, or drop them off at reception. Please ensure they are completed fully as this will delay your registration.



Letters and other documents

Wherever possible we will send any requested letters, test results or any other documents via your direct personal email. Please double check with the Elms team that we have an appropriate and up to date email address. By giving us this information we will accept this as consent to send data to your home email address. If you don’t have an email address then please come to the surgery wearing a mask, use the intercom to let us know you are here and we will either pass the requested documents to you or ask you to come to the reception desk if more complex or will take more time. If you are housebound we will try and post these to you, however be aware you may be asked to post a self-addressed envelope to the practice so that this can be actioned. Completion of forms and letter requests will take between 5 – 10 working days dependent on urgency and direct care of patient. There is a fee for letters and completion of forms and we ask that this is to be paid for in advance, so please either request our surgery BACs details and we will send a copy of your BACs transaction to confirm payment has been made or you are also welcome to pay by direct debit at the surgery. 


We want to ensure we have a safe and efficient service not only as we deal with the Coronavirus challenges but also moving ahead, continuing to meet demand, ensuring our continued high quality of care for all our patients.


Thank you for your continued support and kindness.



The Elms Medical Practice is now a Teaching & Training Practice

Health Education England has approved The Elms Medical Practice for teaching and training within the East of England Deanery. This means we are able to host newly qualified doctors within their Foundation years, as well as those undertaking General Practice training. 

We have also established strong links with other educational institutions and provide training to:

·     Physician Associate trainees (University of Hertfordshire)

·     Final Year Medical Students (University of Cambridge)

·     Year 5 Medical Students (University College London)

·     Year 5 Medical Students (Kings College London)

 The practice team are enthusiastic about the delivery of high-quality teaching and training, and are supported by a dedicated team of educators and administrative support:

Dr Charlotte Allam (Associate Trainer)

Dr Rebecca May (Associate Trainer)

Dr Ellen Sibly (Associate Trainer)

Dr Vidya Kanthi (Associate Trainer)

Mrs Sarah Brindley (Practice Manager – Education Non-Clinical Lead)

Miss Emma Heaton (Deputy Manager)
Appointments with our learners may be offered to you and booked only with your consent. All learners are closely supervised by a named GP Partner. For training purposes, learners may require video recordings of some consultations and again, only with your consent. These are used solely for teaching and confidentiality is upheld between both the learner and GP educator.  

We hope you will support our commitment to the teaching and training of undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare professionals, and we would welcome any feedback regarding your experiences with them.

Check out how HCPA StopFalls can support you

Harpenden Primary Care Network - Please Click here to read information sheet for details.



Heart Age Campaign

This is to increase awareness of heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, the campaign encourages adults to complete the ‘One You Heart Age Test’ which reveals your heart age compared to your real age and gives advice on how to lower it. Click HERE to link to the Heart Age Campaign website.

Improving Access in our Locality  



Gluten Free products are no longer available on prescription in Hertfordshire

Do you get gluten-free foods on prescription? Gluten-free foods are no longer available on prescription.
You can buy these foods from supermarkets, pharmacies and online without a prescription.
For more information please contact us at or 01442 898865

Gluten Free Information Leaflet

What happens when you are referred by your GP to a specialist

Please can you take a moment by accessing the link above and answer the surveys about changes the CCG is proposing on access for IVF, gluten free foods, over the counter medications, female sterilisation, vasectomy and being fit for surgery (i.e. BMI and smoking policy).

These are very important issues and it is important that patients have a say. The deadline is 14th September. Thank you in advance for your time on this.

Fever in a child under 5 - use the traffic light table to help you determine the most sensible action to take


Have your say – join our Patient Participation Group

We value your feedback – take the Friends & Family Test

Health News from the BBC and the NHS

BBC Health
NHS Choices Behind the Headlines
Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website