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English health service to offer "long COVID" clinics

Wed, 7th Oct 2020 16:26

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Sufferers of "Long COVID" symptoms
in England will receive specialist care, the National Health
Service said on Wednesday, with clinics set up to treat symptoms
from breathlessness to brain fog.

Evidence is mounting that thousands of people may suffer
weeks or months of long-term side effects, even if they did not
have a severe case of COVID-19 initially.

NHS England said that some estimates indicated 10% of COVID
patients may still be experiencing symptoms more than three
weeks after infection, with around 60,000 suffering from Long
COVID symptoms after more than three months.

"It is now clear that Long Covid can have a major impact on
the lives of a significant minority of patients weeks or months
after they have contracted the virus," said NHS Chief Executive
Simon Stevens.

"We must respond sensitively and effectively to these new
patient needs."

The NHS said 10 million pounds ($13 million) would be
invested in local funding to start up Long COVID clinics across
England, with respiratory consultants, physios and general
practitioners among those who will diagnose and treat the
symptoms, which include chronic fatigue, anxiety and stress.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had severe COVID-19 in
April, has said long COVID exists and that work is being done to
understand it, though he says he is not suffering from it
himself.

In July, Britain put 8.4 million pounds into a study to
better understand the long-term health impact on some patients
beyond the immediate respiratory issues.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)

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