While many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks, for some people, Covid-19 symptoms can last longer. In some cases, people can suffer from symptoms, including respiratory and mental health conditions, for months. I believe it is important to recognise this and offer the right support to people who have long-term symptoms.
The network of more than 90 specialist services to support patients suffering from long Covid is an important way of helping those experiencing the debilitating effects of the virus months after being infected. The services bring together doctors, nurses, therapists and other specialists to carry out assessments of those experiencing enduring symptoms. NHS England has also invested £224 million to support the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of people with post-Covid-19 syndrome with £90 million for 2022/23.
There is of course still more we can learn about long Covid, and I understand that over £50 million is being invested in a range of research projects to improve understanding and treatment of the condition. I am particularly encouraged by the STIMULATE-ICP project at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust which will be one of the most significant long Covid trials to date, aiming to recruit more than 4,500 people with the condition.
I agree that it is vital we better understand the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs for those experiencing long Covid, which is why I firmly support this ongoing research to improve our understanding. NHS England also intends to publish a multiagency framework to address the long-term effects of Covid-19 in due course.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have also been working with the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust to develop a digital, interactive and personalised recovery service for those recovering from the illness. The ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service allows those who have suffered with the virus either in hospital or at home to access an initial face-to-face consultation with their local rehabilitation team. Those who require it will then be offered a personalised package of online-based aftercare for up to 12 weeks. You can find more information here: www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/