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General practice long Covid plan due this spring, says minister

General practice long Covid plan due this spring, says minister

A plan to ‘further clarify the role of general practice’ in supporting long Covid patients is due in spring 2022, a health minister has said.

Lord Kamall, parliamentary under-secretary for the DHSC, mentioned the plan in a written response to a question from Baroness Masham of Ilton, a crossbench peer.

Baroness Masham had asked what steps the Government is taking to ‘encourage GPs to develop expertise in long Covid’ to allow them to help patients with the condition.

In his reply, Lord Kamall said the previously-announced long Covid GP enhanced service would ‘increase knowledge on identifying, assessing, referring and supporting patients experiencing the long term effects of Covid-19’.

But he also added: ‘NHS England and NHS Improvement are also developing a plan to further clarify the role of general practice, which is due for publication in spring 2022.’

It comes as NICE published its final guideline on long Covid in November last year, which said clinicians should consider referring patients with long-term symptoms of Covid-19 to specialist clinics as soon as four weeks after acute infection after ruling out other diagnoses.

In May, healthcare leaders warned community and primary care nurses need extra resources to cope with rising long Covid cases, which could overtake rates of dementia.

In the same month, Health Education England chief nurse Mark Radford said nurses who specialise in long Covid are needed across healthcare settings to respond to rising numbers of cases.

And in September, MPs were told long Covid patients are struggling to get the care they need with primary and community care lacking the necessary resources.

Research from February this year found people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are around half as likely to develop long Covid symptoms as unvaccinated people or those who had only received one vaccine dose.

A version of this story was originally published on Nursing in Practice‘s sister publication Pulse.

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