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Specialist ‘long Covid’ clinics to be launched across England

Extended symptoms 'already having a very serious impact on many people's lives’, NHS chief says

Emma Bowden
Sunday 15 November 2020 23:21 GMT
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens holds a press conference at University College London Hospital
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens holds a press conference at University College London Hospital (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The NHS is to set up more than 40 specialists clinics in England for those suffering with the long-term effects of coronavirus.

Prompted by concerns thousands of patients are suffering with so-called long Covid, the 43 clinics will bring together doctors, nurses, therapists and other NHS staff to assess those experiencing enduring symptoms.

Long Covid, which is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the UK, can cause continuing fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness and pain, according to the NHS.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, 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 patients who are sick with the virus and many more who do not have it, the NHS is taking action to address those suffering ongoing health issues."

Ten centres have been earmarked for the Midlands, seven in the northeast, six in the east of England, southwest and southeast respectively, five in London and three in the northwest.

NHS England has provided £10m to fund clinics, which will treat patients who have been hospitalised with the virus, officially diagnosed after a test or reasonably believe they had Covid-19.

It follows a study from King's College London which found older people, women and those with a number of different symptoms in the early stage of their illness were more likely to develop long Covid.

One in 10 were still unable to shake off the side effects eight weeks after infection, the study found.

According to experts, ongoing Covid may not be one illness but four different syndromes, which some may suffer simultaneously.

These have been broadly categorised as: post intensive care syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage and long term Covid syndrome.

Press Association

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