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Covid aftercare piles pressure on ‘understaffed’ community services

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The aftercare of COVID-19 patients will have significant financial implications for ‘understaffed’ community services, NHS England has been warned.

This month the national commissioner released guidance for the care of patients once they have recovered from an immediate covid infection and been discharged from hospital.

It said community health services will need to provide “ongoing health support that rehabilitates [covid patients] both physically and mentally”. The document said this would result in increased demand for home oxygen services, pulmonary rehabilitation, diagnostics and for many therapies such as speech and language, occupational, physio, dieticians and mental health support.

One GP heavily involved in community rehab told HSJ: “There is a lot detailed information about what people might experience in recovery, but it doesn’t say what should actually happen.

“We have seen people discharged from hospital that don’t know anything about their follow-up and the community [health sector] hasn’t got any instructions of what they should be doing or what services have even reopened. This guidance needs to go a step further and rapidly say what is expected so local commissioners can put that in place.”

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Source: HSJ, 10 June 2020

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