NHS sets up 69 clinics to treat patients with long-Covid as figures show one in five people who test positive for suffer weeks of ongoing symptoms
- One in five who test positive suffer debilitating symptoms for five weeks or more
- Yesterday, medical watchdog Nice sent out guidelines for managing long Covid
- The report recommends GPs should provide extra support and care for patients
- It came as NHS England announced that it had opened 69 long Covid-19 clinics
Doctors will refer patients with long Covid for specialist help under the first national guidelines on the condition.
Around one in five people who test positive for the virus suffer from debilitating symptoms for five weeks or longer, figures show.
Yesterday medical watchdog Nice issued guidelines for managing long Covid, which can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system and muscles.
It recommends GPs should provide extra support and care for patients, including referral to new hospital clinics, and says doctors should liaise with employers to support a phased or gradual return to work or education.
It came as NHS England announced it had opened 69 long Covid clinics. Its chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said they would ‘deliver an integrated approach to support patients’.
Around one in five people who test positive for the virus suffer from debilitating symptoms for five weeks or longer, figures show. Pictured: NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens with a nurse in London last week
The assessment centres are taking referrals from GPs for people experiencing brain fog, anxiety, depression, breathlessness, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms.
Patients can access services if they are referred by a GP or another healthcare professional, so that doctors can first rule out other possible underlying causes for symptoms.
Sir Simon said: ‘The NHS is taking practical action to help patients suffering ongoing health issues as a result of coronavirus.
‘Bringing expert clinicians together in these clinics will deliver an integrated approach to support patients access vital rehabilitation, as well as helping develop a greater understanding of long covid and its debilitating symptoms.’
NHS England announced it had opened 69 long Covid clinics. Its chief executive Sir Simon Stevens (pictured at a vaccination centre at Guy’s Hospital last week) said they would ‘deliver an integrated approach to support patients’
Dr Graham Burns, clinical lead at the long Covid centre at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, said: ‘In the first wave of the pandemic many people did not recover as quickly as they’d expected.
‘We had no idea what long Covid was – the world had never seen COVID-19 before.
‘We set up the clinic in Newcastle to support patients, but it has also been invaluable in helping us understand what long Covid is.
‘I’m delighted that patients now have places to turn to across the country turn and on a national scale doctors will be able to learn from our collective experience and offer tailored support to patients.’