NHS to invest £10m into specialist centres to help rehabilitate sufferers of ‘long COVID’
The NHS has confirmed that an additional £10 million will be invested this year to help launch dedicated long COVID clinics across England to help those suffering ongoing symptoms.
Announced by NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens at the NHS Providers conference on 7 October, the centres will see respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, other specialists and GPs all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands bearing the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
It comes as increasing medical evidence and patient testimony reveals that a small but significant minority of people who contract COVID are unable to shake off the effects of the virus months after contracting the virus.
Enduring symptoms include breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, anxiety and stress.
According to the NHS, some estimates suggest that 10 per cent of patients may still be experiencing symptoms more than three weeks after infection, and perhaps 60,000 people could be suffering from long COVID symptoms after more than three months.
“While this is still a relatively new virus, we are learning more about COVID with every passing week,” said Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS.
“It is now clear that long COVID can have a major impact on the lives of a significant minority of patients weeks or months after they have contracted the virus. So just as the NHS quickly put in place specialist hospital care for acutely ill COVID patients at the start of the pandemic, now we must respond sensitively and effectively to these new patient needs.”
The £10 million to be invested in the new clinics will lead to the creation of long COVID clinics in every area across England, complementing existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.
Sir Simon also said the network of clinics will be a core element of a five-part package of measures to boost NHS support for patients.
Other support measures include new guidance from NICE on the medical ‘case definition’ of long COVID, a new online rehab service called ‘Your COVID Recovery’, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded research on long COVID, as well as a new NHS England ‘Long COVID Taskforce’.
Professor Chris Brightling, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Consultant Respiratory Physician University of Leicester and UHL NHS Trust, said: “Following COVID-19 infection, some people have persistent and debilitating symptoms including fatigue and breathlessness known as long COVID. Sufferers need a coordinated approach to their care and rehabilitation so this proposed plan is most welcome.
“Long COVID research studies are essential in understanding the reasons for the variable consequences of the disease to identify those at risk and to test new treatments.”
The new services will follow the launch of the specialist clinic at University College London Hospital earlier in the summer which has treated over 900 people with long COVID symptoms, including those who were not admitted to hospital with the illness.https://thiis.co.uk/nhs-to-invest-10m-into-specialist-centres-to-help-rehabilitate-sufferers-of-long-covid/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/rehab-long-covid-clinic.jpg?fit=900%2C578&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/rehab-long-covid-clinic.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Government & Local AuthoritiesInvestments & FundingNewsroomNHSSector News£10m,coronavirus,funding,Long COVID,NHS England,Sir Simon Stevens,University College London HospitalThe NHS has confirmed that an additional £10 million will be invested this year to help launch dedicated long COVID clinics across England to help those suffering ongoing symptoms.Announced by NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens at the NHS Providers conference on 7 October, the centres will see respiratory...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine