New guidelines on persistent effects of Covid-19, sometimes referred to as Long Covid, on patients is set to be developed following an announcement by NICE and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) that they are set to undertake the work alongside RCGP.
NICE and SIGN will develop the guideline jointly with the RCGP, alongside an independent cross-specialty clinical group.
Persistent symptoms of Covid-19 have been reported by people regardless of how ill they were initially or whether they were hospitalised. These have included on-going shortness of breath, fatigue, heart, lung, kidney, neurological and musculoskeletal problems.
It is estimated there could be as many as 60,000 people in the UK who are suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.
The guidelines will address, among other things, a formal definition of the disease, how to identity on-going symptoms and a definition of the best practice investigation and treatment options to support the management of the condition across diverse communities.
It is expected that the guideline on the longer-term patient impact of Covid-19 will be published by the end of the year.
Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: “There is growing evidence to suggest Covid-19 is a multi-system disease that for many people involves persistent symptoms with longer term impacts on their health.
“It is important, therefore, that people requiring ongoing support and treatment are identified quickly and are supported by the NHS throughout every stage of their journey. We also want to ensure that clinicians have clear guidance on how best to support patients struggling with this newly emerging disease.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Treating or managing any new virus or condition is a challenge for healthcare professionals whose priority is always trying to deliver the best possible care for their patients.
“The College is delighted to be working with both NICE and SIGN to develop this guideline.
“It aims to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to ensure all patients with long term effects of Covid-19, including those diagnosed in the community irrespective of whether they received a positive test or not, can be cared for in the best possible way, based on the latest evidence.”