(London, UK, 11 September) – The charity Patient Safety Learning are calling on the NHS to publish details of post-COVID support clinics and clarify how these can be accessed by thousands of ‘Long COVID’ patients.
Patient Safety Learning has written to Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, calling on him to take steps to publicise the locations and details of these services. This follows Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, expressing concerns in the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday that not all GPs know how to access these services.
Helen Hughes, Chief Executive of Patient Safety Learning, said: “We have heard from many Long COVID patients that they are not clear on the location of these clinics, what services they offer and who is eligible for support. Some patients have been advised by their GP that there are no post-COVID clinics available within their area. Though the NHS launched the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ online portal for patients recovering from COVID, there is no clear indication of how the clinics fit into this and how patients can access the support they need.”
Long COVID patients are those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who continue to struggle with prolonged, debilitating and sometimes severe symptoms months later. In their letter, the charity has identified a series of steps needed to provide greater clarity for these patients, including:
- Publishing a list of all existing post-COVID clinics and contact details.
- Confirming whether these clinics are accessed by referral from your GP or self-referral. If by GP referral, publish the guidance issued to GPs on this process.
- Confirming who is eligible for these services, whether they are restricted to those hospitalised by COVID-19 or open to those who are managing their symptoms at home.
- Confirm what services are available from these clinics. Specifically, whether they can help patients access clinical investigations, as well as treatment and rehabilitation.
- Clarify whether these services are available to all patients or only those who have had a confirmed positive test for COVID-19.
Notes to editors:
- Patient Safety Learning is a charity, which helps transform safety in health and social care, creating a world where patients are free from harm. We identify the critical factors that affect patient safety and analyse the systemic reasons they fail. We use what we learn to envision safer care. We recommend how to get there. Then we act to help make it happen. For more information: www.patientsafetylearning.org
- In the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Tuesday 8 September 2020, Matt Hancock commented that “The NHS set up Long COVID clinics and announced them in July. I am concerned by reports this morning from the Royal College of GPs that not all GPs know how to ensure that people can get into those services. That is something I will take up with the NHS and that I am sure we will be able to resolve.” The full transcript can be found here.
- Patient Safety Learning’s full letter to Sir Simon Stevens can be found here.
- Patient Safety Learning have previously set out patient safety concerns for Long COVID patients, outlining these issues in more detail. Read more here.