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NHS introduces new ways to tackle Long Covid in updated action plan

The NHS has introduced additional measures to help battle long Covid, including the creation of one stop shops and mobile clinics, which will offer a range of checks.

The NHS has introduced additional measures to help battle long Covid, including the creation of one stop shops and mobile clinics, which will offer a range of checks.

These local one stop shops will be able to check blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, spirometry and other tests for breathlessness as well as electrocardiography.

This will prevent people from having to go back to their GP practice for multiple tests, easing some o the pressure felt in primary care services.

The plan also includes ambitions for all patients to have an initial assessment within six weeks to ensure they are diagnosed and treated quickly.

The plan is supported by £90 million of funding

Backed by £90 million of funding, the updated measures build on current plans which have seen the development of 90 specialist clinics, 14 hubs for children and young people and investment in training and guidance to support GP teams in managing the condition.

A community outreach van in Mid and South Essex is already seeing patients with suspected long Covid symptoms for booked appointments and walk-ins before referring them for further assessments where needed.

Those who are diagnosed with Long Covid will be able to receive physical, cognitive and psychological assessments and management and may also be referred for further rehabilitation, treatment and support if necessary.

Dr Kiren Collison, GP and chair of the NHS long COVID taskforce said: “Today’s plan builds on this world-leading care, to ensure support is there for everyone who needs it, and that patients requiring specialist support can access care in a timely and more convenient way.”

Anyone concerned about Long Covid symptoms should consult the NHS Your Covid Recovery website

The NHS advises anyone who is concerned about ongoing symptoms following Covid-19 to seek information and advice on the NHS Your Covid Recovery website.

This online platform provides expert advice on what people can do if they are recovering from the infection, as well as what to look out for if symptoms persist and signposting on where to access support for long lasting symptoms.

If they remain concerned, or are not recovering as expected, they should contact their GP team.

Health leaders question how the service will be sustained amid a staffing crisis

Health leaders have welcomed the updated plan, but say that more detail is needed. Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders are very aware that Covid-19 is far from a flash in the pan illness and for many people, it can have a devastating impact on their lives long after the first symptoms.

“Not only does this place additional pressure on already stretched NHS services but the Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that it costs £1.5 billion a year in lost earnings and when people are out of work, this can then affect their health and wellbeing further.

“This is why it is so important that the NHS has a plan on how these people will be supported in the community, backed by additional investment. We look forward to seeing the detail of this.”

Dr McCay also warns that staffing issues may make it difficult for these specialist clinics to run an efficient service. She therefore advises the public to following public health advice to minimise their risk of catching Covid.

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