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LongCovidSOS Starts Conversation with NHS England about Long Covid Services

LongCovidSOS began a conversation with NHS England about treatment and services for those with Long Covid. We were happy to be able to talk to Professor Stephen Powis National Medical Director of NHS England, Dr Nikita Kanani GP and Director of Primary Care, and Dr Joanne Fillingham Clinical Director Allied Health Professionals. The discussion centred around GP care, and adapting and commissioning other services for people with Long Covid.

As part of our campaign for recognition, research, and rehabilitation, we are raising awareness and speaking with policy makers. NHS England are an important part of the conversation, especially when it comes to rehab. For our recovery, it’s vital that existing services and any new offerings like post-Covid clinics are adapted or designed to be suitable for Long Covid patients.

Our first meeting was a constructive video call with the team discussing how to estimate numbers to ensure correct provision, and how to balance between general care and expertise from specialists. Speaking of the collaboration, Professor Powis said “It was good to have met Long COVID SOS today to talk about the experience and needs of those who have had Covid, I look forward to working with them in the future”.

We also touched on how to get patients the tests and treatment they need. The LongCovidSOS survey on GP interaction helped to inform the discussion. Results from the survey showed that GP responses were variable. Around one fifth received a proactive response where treatment options were discussed. More than a quarter of respondents indicated that they’d been met with sympathy, but limited practical help.

Around 10% of respondents spoke with a GP who did not accept that they had a Covid-19 infection or did not believe they could still be impacted after two weeks, so another cause was suggested. A similar number were told they were suffering from anxiety. Understanding of the novel virus and its long-term impacts is still an ongoing process. Rehabilitation and research need to take place as soon as possible to impact the outcome for these patients.

LongCovidSOS will continue the conversation with NHS England looking at the availability of post-Covid clinics in more areas, discussing what rehab could look like, and drawing on existing work, such as the guidance on Covid-19 recovery and rehabilitation clinics from UCLPartners and NHS Improvement London.

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