As part of Norfolk & Waveney's 'Protect NoW' work on Covid-19, new services are being offered locally to help those suffering from the effects of 'Long Covid' (Covid symptoms persisting four weeks or more after an initial Covid infection).
6,318 patients with a diagnosis of a Covid-19 infection recorded before 6th December 2020 were invited to take part in a survey in February 2021. The survey received 1,592 responses. The key findings were:
- 53.6% of respondents reported they were still being troubled by their symptoms of Covid-19.
- 19.3% indicated they have had further medical problems or needed to go to hospital since their Covid-19 infection.
- The majority of respondents reported they were experiencing more than one symptom, reflecting the complexity of differing types of Long Covid. The most common symptom reported was ongoing respiratory problems.
Of course, the best way to avoid developing Long Covid symptoms is to avoid getting Covid in the first place - that's why it's still so important to keep following sensible precautions such receiving both doses of the Covid vaccine, wearing masks in public places, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing.
But for those who have developed Long Covid, there is now help available through Post Covid-19 Assessment Clinics. For patients with signs and symptoms that develop during or after a Covid-19 infection - and which continue for more than 12 weeks with symptoms that cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis, your GP can now refer you to a Post Covid-19 Assessment Clinic.
At this stage, patients receive:
- Initial triage of referral
- Clinical assessment via telephone to complete screening tools to understand physical and mental health symptoms
- Patients with mild symptoms will be encouraged to use the tools on the Your Covid Recovery website
- Those with more complex symptoms will be referred on to the appropriate clinical services.
An additional £100m is being made available - in addition to the £24m already allocated this year - to provide further support for Long Covid patients. Norfolk & Waveney CCG is applying for funding to offer tailored interventions for those suffering from Long Covid, including dedicated breathlessness and fatigue groups.
There can be no doubt that Long Covid will continue to affect a number of Covid patients for some time to come, so these are just the first steps in recognising the differing symptoms of Long Covid and finding ways to help with treatment and management.