NHS England will launch over forty ‘Long Covid’ specialist clinics in England for patients suffering from the debilitating symptoms of Covid- 19 months after catching the virus.
The NHS announced that the clinics would be set up ‘within weeks’ to help tackle the long-term symptoms of Covid-19, which include fatigue, pain, brain fog, and breathlessness.
The clinics will bring together a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals, including doctors, nurses, and therapists, who will assess a patient’s physical and psychological needs concerning Long-Covid.
Patients who have been hospitalised by Covid- 19, officially diagnosed by a positive test or believe they have suffered from the infection, will be referred to the clinics by a GP or other health care professional once other health conditions have been ruled out.
According to research published in the BMJ in August this year, approximately 10% of people experience prolonged illness after Covid-19.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Long Covid is already having a very serious impact on many people’s lives and could well go on to affect hundreds of thousands. That is why, while treating rising numbers of sick patients with the virus and many more who do not have it, the NHS is taking action to address those suffering ongoing health issues.’
There will be 10 clinics in the Midlands, seven in the North East, six in the East of England, South West and South East respectively, five in London and three in the North West. NHS England will provide £10m to fund the clinics.
To support the Long-Covid clinics, the NHS has launched a new task force that includes patients, charities, researchers, and clinicians working together to help inform the NHS approach to tackle the long-term impacts of the virus.
Sir Stevens added: ‘These pioneering ‘Long-Covid’ clinics will help address the very real problems being faced by patients today while the task force will help the NHS develop a greater understanding of the lasting effects of coronavirus.’