In October 2020, Sir Simon Stevens announced a five-part package of measures to boost NHS support for patients experiencing long-term effects of COVID-19. The package includes:

  1. New guidance commissioned by us from NICE on the clinical case definition of Long COVID. This includes patients who have had COVID who may not have had a hospital admission or a previous positive test. It will be followed by evidence-based NICE clinical guidelines on the support that Long COVID patients should receive, due to be published by the end of the year.

  2. The second phase of the Your COVID Recovery platform – an online, tailored rehabilitation programme that enables patients to be monitored by their local rehabilitation teams to ensure that they are on track with their care.

    The Your COVID Recovery public facing information website launched in July 2020, providing general information on all aspects of recovering from COVID-19 including physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing, advice on recovery and information for families and carers.

  3. Designated post-COVID assessment services. Additional funding of £10 million is to be invested this year to set up specialist post-COVID assessment services across England, to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.

  4. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded research on Long COVID to better understand the condition and refine appropriate treatment.

  5. An NHS Long COVID taskforce which includes patients with Long COVID, medical specialists and researchers.

Long COVID Plan 21/22

In June 2021, Simon Stevens announced a further package of support for long COVID for 21/22. The Long COVID Plan 21/22 builds on the five-point plan outlined above and outlines 10 key next steps to be taken to support those suffering from long COVID.

It is underpinned by a £100 million investment, £30 million of which will go towards an enhanced service for general practice to support long COVID care, and enable consistent referrals. The remaining £70 million will be used to expand other NHS long COVID services and establish 15 ‘paediatric hubs’ to coordinate care for children and young people.

The plan also highlights the need for equity of access, outcomes and experience in long COVID support, as well as committing to extending the Your COVID Recovery website, collecting and publishing data.

You can read the plan in full here: Long COVID: the NHS plan for 2021/22

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