Thousands of long COVID patients to get help at more than 60 clinics
NHS England has announced that thousands of patients suffering with the long-term symptoms of coronavirus can now access specialist help at more than 60 sites.
The assessment centres are taking referrals from GPs for people experiencing brain fog, anxiety, depression, breathlessness, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms. Around 186,000 people suffer problems after contracting COVID-19 for up to 12 weeks, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.
NHS England has provided £10 million for the network of clinics, which started opening last month. There are now 69 operating across the country with hundreds of patients already getting help.
The new long COVID clinics bring together doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical and psychological assessments and refer patients to the right treatment and rehabilitation services.
Ten sites are now operational in London, seven in the East of England, eight in the Midlands, South East and South West respectively, nine in the North West and a further 18 across the North East and Yorkshire.
A further 12 sites are earmarked to launch in January in the East Midlands, Lancashire, Cornwall and Isle of Wight.
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 Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, 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.”
The NHS has also launched a long COVID taskforce, with patients, charities, researchers and clinicians involved, to help lead the NHS response to long COVID, produce information and support materials for patients and healthcare professionals, and develop a wider understanding of the condition.
View the full list of services here