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NHS specialist centres to offer help to long-term Covid-19 sufferers

People suffering from long-term symptoms of coronavirus, also sometimes referred to as Long Covid, will be offered specialist help at clinics across England, following a £10m investment, according the head of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens.

Respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, other specialists and GPs will all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands of sufferers who have reported symptoms ranging from breathlessness, chronic fatigue, ‘brain fog’, anxiety and stress.

As more medical evidence and patient testimony becomes available, a small but significant minority of people who contract Covid-19 is emerging, with these individuals being unable to shake off the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill.

By some estimates, as many as 10% of Covid patients may still be experiencing symptoms more than three weeks after infection – and as many as 60,000 people could be suffering from long-term Covid symptoms after more than three months.

Speaking at the NHS Providers conference, NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens will announce that £10m is be invested this year in additional local funding to help kickstart and designate long-term Covid clinics in every area across England, designed to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “While this is still a relatively new virus, we are learning more about Covid with every passing week.

“It is now clear that long Covid can have a major impact on the lives of a significant minority of patients weeks or months after they have contracted the virus.

“So just as the NHS quickly put in place specialist hospital care for acutely ill Covid patients at the start of the pandemic, now we must respond sensitively and effectively to these new patient needs.”

Professor Chris Brightling, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Consultant Respiratory Physician University of Leicester and UHL NHS Trust, added: “Following Covid-19 infection, some people have persistent and debilitating symptoms including fatigue and breathlessness known as Long Covid.

“Sufferers need a coordinated approach to their care and rehabilitation so this proposed plan is most welcome.

“Long Covid research studies are essential in understanding the reasons for the variable consequences of the disease to identify those at risk and to test new treatments.”

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