NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with hospitals, GPs and other professionals providing support and care to people with Long Covid to further develop services.
As an integral part of this process, the CCG would like to hear the views of people experiencing the long-term health effects of a Covid-19 infection.
To capture feedback, the CCG has launched a survey and will be holding virtual patient experience workshops which can be attended on the evening of Thursday 8 April or the morning of Wednesday 28 April.
Dr Neil Banik is the GP leading the development of NHS services to support people with Long Covid in Kent and Medway.
Dr Banik said: “To make sure services meet the needs of patients we want to hear from people who are suffering from Long Covid. If you have experienced long-term symptoms like cough, fevers, muscle aches, and excessive tiredness, or other symptoms you attribute to Covid-19, we would really value your input.
“This is particularly important as this is a new condition and we need to focus on what matters to patients and their families and carers so the service meets their needs. We would also value the views of families and carers as we know the impact Long Covid has on them too.”
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.
Ana Nacif, an independent voice for patients in the Canterbury area, is still suffering symptoms long after testing positive for Covid.
She said: “My recovery from Covid has been difficult and three months later I still have horrible headaches and some days I feel exhausted. I know I am not alone and the local NHS acknowledges it can do more to support those with Long Covid.
“I have already completed the survey and will be signing up for the events. I think it’s really important that the health and care provided to help recovery from Covid is informed by patient experience, so please join me.”
If people feel they have had Covid-19 and it took longer than expected to recover, the NHS would like to hear from them. Even if they have now completely recovered, sharing their views and experiences will help others.
To take part, people don’t have to have been to hospital or even had a positive diagnosis of Covid-19. Families and carers are also being asked to give their views on what support would help them.
The NHS has set up the website https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/ to provide information to patients to help them recover from Covid. If anyone is worried about continuing symptoms they should not hesitate to contact their GP or the team who looked after them while in hospital.
To find out more about support and advice in Kent and Medway go to www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus