Patients with long-lasting symptoms from COVID will have access to more convenient tests and checks closer to home, under new measures announced by NHS England.
Specialist clinics, dedicated to long COVID, will now be able to send people for tests at local one stop shops and mobile clinics, rather than people going back to their GP practice for multiple different tests. The mobile service offers a range of checks including blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, spirometry and other tests for breathlessness as well as electrocardiography.
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‘Long COVID can be devastating for those living with it, and while we continue to learn more about this new condition, it’s important people know they’re not alone, and that the NHS is here for them,’ said Dr Kiren Collison, GP and chair of the NHS long COVID taskforce.
‘In just under two years, the NHS has invested £224m to support people experiencing long term effects from COVID – from setting up specialist clinics, hubs for children, and an online recovery platform, to providing training for GP teams.’
Latest estimates from the ONS show that around 1.6 million people in England are experiencing ongoing COVID symptoms lasting more than four weeks, with around one in five saying it has a significant impact on their daily life.
‘Long COVID can have lasting and debilitating effects on both the physical and mental health of people of all ages. These new measures will ensure individuals with this awful condition can access the support that they need more quickly and closer to home,’ said Health Minister James Morris.
‘The plan shows the incredible progress the NHS has made to provide further support to patients alongside our world-leading vaccination programme which has delivered over 150 million jabs to protect people from the virus.’