Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is developing a programme of support and care for those suffering ‘long covid’ – long-term health effects following a Covid-19 infection.
The CCG is working with hospitals, GPs and other healthcare professionals to make sure it can provide the right services and advice for people as they recover.
To help with this the CCG wants to hear from anyone in Kent and Medway who has had Covid-19 and has continued to experience symptoms over a longer period of time – particularly for more than three months, and also from family carers.
The condition, which is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the UK, can cause continuing fatigue, brain fog’, breathlessness and pain.
A study from King’s College London found that older people, women and those with a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of their illness were more likely to develop Long Covid with one in 10 still unable to shake off the side effects eight weeks after infection.
More recent evidence is also showing that Long Covid can be categorised into four different syndromes: post intensive care syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage and long term Covid syndrome.
The CCG says people with Long Covid in Kent and Medway will soon be able to be referred to a Post-Covid Assessment Service. Because of the nature of Long Covid, the clinic will draw on expertise from a range of health professionals and have access to a number of assessment and diagnostic tests, which will help support recovery.
The CCG says: “As Kent and Medway CCG develops services to help people who are suffering from the longer term effects of a Covid infection, we want to hear their views and the views of their families and carers. This is particularly important as this is a new condition and we need to focus on what matters to patients.”
To help those suffering symptoms there is also the Your Covid Recovery NHS website. This includes information from experts about how to look after your health and wellbeing. It also includes information on returning to work, and a section for family, friends and carers of people who are recovering from Covid.
Last November NHS England announced plans to launch a network of more than 40 ‘Long Covid’ specialist clinics – which it confirmed would include one for Kent and Medway.
The clinics will bring together doctors, nurses, therapists and other NHS staff for physical and psychological assessments of those experiencing enduring symptoms.
If you are interested in telling your story to the CCG, or getting involved in developing the service, email the engagement team at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group: firstname.lastname@example.org