How Stepping Stone Practice is currently operating

Covid-19 Update November 2022

All surgeries are operating normally.

It is no longer mandatory to wear a mask when attending the surgeries, but we encourage you to wear one if you wish to. Our staff may also be wearing masks at times. If you would like the person you are seeing to wear a mask while you are seeing them, please let them know and they will be happy to do this for you.

We are still triaging patients before they are seen in the surgery and will ask about Covid-19 symptoms. So please be assured that your safety is always our first consideration.

Covid-19 Update April 2022

We hope you are all enjoying living with far fewer restrictions relating to Covid-19 and this is impacting positively on your health and wellbeing.

In the surgeries it remains mandatory to wear a face covering and in all other healthcare settings unless you are clinically exempt.  Our staff will continue to wear masks and other appropriate PPE whilst at work. This is to protect both them and you while we are providing your care.  Social distancing also remains in place in the premises, and we ask that you sanitise your hands on arrival. Your cooperation with this is greatly appreciated.

We will still triage all patients before they are seen in the surgery and will ask about Covid-19 symptoms. We are still separating suspected Covid-19 patients from other patients.

General information about Covid-19

Information and advice about coronavirus

General guidance and information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the NHS website

General guidance and information is also available on the government website


Covid-19 Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (

Health A – Z Health A to Z – NHS (

Self Help Treat Yourself Better

NHS Live Well Live Well – NHS (

NHS Quit Smoking NHS stop smoking services help you quit – NHS (

Stroke Association Stroke Association | Home

Bereavement Support Bereavement Support Service from East Lancashire Hospice (

Blackburn with Darwen Carers Support Home – Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service (

Self Isolating

If you do have symptoms you need to stay at home for between 7 and 14 days depending on your circumstances. You can find stay at home guidance from the government here: Self Isolation Guidance

Isolation Note

If you are self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms you do NOT need a sick note from your GP. You can obtain an isolation note via the NHS website. Click HERE to visit the page and obtain your note.

Face Coverings

Government advice on face coverings can be found HERE.

Patients do not need a letter from their GP to certify that they cannot wear a face mask. Exemption cards can be downloaded from the government website HERE.


Covid Vaccinations

How do i get a Covid-19 vaccination?

Stepping Stone Practice is working together with other local GP practices with the support of our Local Primary Care Network to vaccinate patients against Covid-19. Our two main vaccination centres are in Barbara Castle Way Health Centre and Darwen Health Centre. We also run them from Stepping Stone Practice for our own registered patients.

When you become eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination you will be sent a text message which will allow you to book an appointment. Please do not attend the centre without an appointment.

Patients that do not have a mobile phone or who cannot use the online booking facility may contact the practice and our reception staff will book your appointment.

Demonstrating Covid Vaccination Status

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.

There are 3 options to demonstrate COVID-19 status: via the NHS App (if you have full access to the App and are registered at a GP surgery), through NHS.UK and by letter from the 119 telephone service

You do not need to contact your GP surgery to register with the NHS App. All you need to do is download the App and upload your ID. Your identity will be verified by the NHS App team and you will then be given access to the services. It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified so you can use these services.

You can use the NHS App to order prescriptions and book appointments as well as view your Covid vaccination status.

A quick guide of how to register with the NHS app is available here:

If you cannot access these online services, and you have had two vaccines, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you had your second dose more than five working days ago. It may take seven 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.

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

What if i had my vaccinations abroad?

This guidance from Public Health England summarises the status of a variety of vaccines available in the UK and overseas. This includes clinical guidance on whether an individual needs further doses in England and if so, which type of vaccine is recommended to complete the course. It is not recommended that vaccine courses are repeated just so that individuals can be included in the NHS COVID-19 Pass. Extra doses which are not required from a clinical perspective may lead to increased side effects.

If someone has had their first dose outside of the UK, in England they should be directed to a walk-in clinic which administers the same brand of vaccine they have had for their first dose, or a GP practice (especially if they have had a brand of vaccine not available in the UK) to arrange their second dose.

Currently there is not a central mechanism for capturing details of overseas COVID-19 vaccines for the NHS COVID-19 Pass, and only vaccines delivered in the UK can be accepted as evidence for UK COVID-19 certification/ the NHS COVID-19 Pass.

A technical solution to support the recording of vaccinations overseas in the NHS immunisation management service (NIMS) is in development, and we will provide an update as soon as possible.