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Thousands of patients suffering with the long term symptoms of coronavirus can now access specialist help at more than 60 sites, NHS England announced today.
The assessment centres are taking referrals from GPs for people experiencing brain fog, anxiety, depression, breathlessness, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms.
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.
New research has shown one in five people with coronavirus develop longer term symptoms. Around 186,000 people suffer problems for up to 12 weeks, the Office for National Statistics found.
The new centres 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.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today also issued official guidance on best practice for recognising, investigating and rehabilitating patients with long COVID.
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.”
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.”
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.
List of services
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust – Berkshire Long COVID Integrated Service
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Virgin Care Services Limited and Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Surrey County Hospital
- East Surrey – First Community Health and Care
- CSH Surrey and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital
- Surrey Downs Health and Care Partnership
- East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
- Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Mid and South Essex- Provide Community Interest Company
- Hertfordshire Community Service Health Care Trust
- Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust
- Liverpool University Foundation Hospital Trust
- Manchester Foundation Trust (Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital)
- North Care Alliance (Salford Royal Foundation Trust, Royal Oldham Hospital)
- North Manchester General
- Tameside and Glossop Integrated Trust
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
- Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust
- Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
- Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust
- North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation Trust
- The Newcastle upon Tyne Foundation Hospitals Trust
- Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust
- County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust
- North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust
- South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust
- York Teaching Hospital HS Foundation Trust
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
- North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
- The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
- Barnsley Healthcare Federation
- Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Bradford Teaching hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- The Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust
- Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
- Shropshire Community Health Trust
- Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust
- Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
- Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital
- University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust and Provider Company Ltd arm of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Alliance
- Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire – Wiltshire health and care
- Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – Sirona Care and Health
- Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Health and Care Foundation Trust
- University College London Hospital Trust
- Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust (Homerton University Hospital)
- Barts Health NHS Trust, (Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital)
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (King George Hospital)
- London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (Northwick Park Hospital)
- Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (St Mary’s Hospital)
- Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital)
- Kings Health Partners (Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust – St Thomas’ Hospital)
- Kings Health Partners (Kings College Health Foundation Trust- King’s College Hospital)
- St Georges NHS Trust (St. George’s Hospital)