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  1. News Article
    Sufferers say they have had little specialist help despite NHS England setting up dedicated clinics. “It’s not that I feel I have been abandoned, I think that is perfectly obvious,” says Rachel Pope. “If you speak to any long Covid patient, they have been abandoned.” Until exactly a year ago – 5 March 2020 – Pope was “an incredibly fit woman”. A senior lecturer in European prehistory at the University of Liverpool, her work and lifestyle were very active. But after falling ill to Covid, she spent four months unable to walk, then three more when she could manage little more than “a sort of shuffle”. She still has a host of symptoms, “but the most debilitating is the fact that I still can’t do more than 2,000 steps in a day. Until a few weeks ago, I was still choking every day. There’s a lot of nasty stuff that [long Covid sufferers] are living with, without treatment. “It’s not a great situation to be in. I mean, we didn’t die. But this isn’t exactly living either.” A year into the pandemic, accounts such as Pope’s have become dispiritingly familiar, as the experiences of the many thousands who have struggled for months with long Covid, often alone and unsupported, are emerging. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 March 2021
  2. News Article
    A leading doctor has said the NHS should expect to treat up to a million people for long Covid in the aftermath of the pandemic. Long Covid affects about 1 in 10 people of any age infected with coronavirus, and sufferers can experience symptoms including breathlessness, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and stress for several months after contracting COVID-19. The likelihood of experiencing long-term symptoms does not appear to be linked to the severity of the initial virus and people with mild symptoms at first can still have debilitating long Covid. The absence of long Covid registers makes it difficult to measure the scale of the problem, and major studies into the condition are ongoing in an attempt to identify causes and potential treatments. But one of Britain’s leading doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, estimates that about a million people will need care for long Covid as the NHS recovers from the effects of the pandemic. “Although officially about 4 million people have had Covid, in reality, it’s about 8 million or 9 million,” the anonymous doctor told The Guardian. “If 10% of those people have got something, then it could be almost a million people, and that’s enormous.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 March 2021
  3. News Article
    Some 1 in 10 people still experience persistent ill health 12 weeks after having COVID-19, termed “long COVID” or post-COVID conditions. A new policy brief from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies documents responses to post-COVID conditions in different countries of the WHO European Region and looks at how sufferers, including medical professionals, are driving some of those responses. Written for decision-makers, this brief summarises what is known about the conditions, who and how many people suffer from them, diagnosis and treatment, and how countries are addressing the issue. Commenting on long COVID, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge said, “COVID-19 has caused a great deal of suffering among people across the Region, with reports of long COVID an extra cause for concern. It’s important that patients reporting with symptoms of long COVID are included as part of the COVID-19 response to mitigate some of the longer-term health impacts of the pandemic. This policy brief makes clear the need for policy-makers to take the lead on this issue.” Read full story Source: WHO, 25 February 2021
  4. News Article
    One in five people hospitalised with COVID-19 experienced hair loss within six months of first being infected with the virus, a cohort study of patients found. A team of Chinese experts looking into the long-term health consequences of the disease surveyed patients who had been discharged from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan last year. Of the 1,655 people who took part 359 (22%) reported losing hair. Fatigue or muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping, smell disorder, anxiety and depression were some of the other most commonly reported symptoms, with a higher percentage of these reported among women. The long-term consequences of Covid-19 after six months remained "largely unclear", the study concluded. Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 February 2021
  5. News Article
    Today is an anniversary that George Hencken never imagined. It is exactly one year since she caught COVID-19. But unlike most people who have suffered from the disease, she remains ill. “It’s a year since I’ve felt like myself,” she said. “It’s a year since my life as I knew it came to an end. And I don’t know if I’m going to get it back again.” Long Covid doesn’t quite describe the depths of her fatigue. “It’s not tiredness. It’s like having jet lag and a hangover. It feels like I’ve been poisoned,” she said. The problem for Hencken and the thousands still suffering from the virus months later is that long Covid doesn’t describe much at all. The umbrella term covers people who are breathless and fatigued, or who have brain fog, headaches and tingling arms, or who have chest pains and heart palpitations, or all of those and dozens more symptoms besides. Support groups such as LongCovidSOS have been fighting hard for the condition to be recognised and taken seriously – sufferers say they feel disbelieved, and doctors initially had little information, support or even funding. Last week the government announced £18.5m through the National Institute for Health Research to fund four major studies attempting to understand exactly what long Covid means, why it affects so many apparently healthy people, and how they can be helped. Research by University College London will track the health of 60,000 people, including people with long Covid and a control group who will wear a Fitbit-style wristband to measure heart rate, breathing and exercise levels. The aim is to chart and identify clusters of symptoms, Professor Nishi Chaturvedi said. “My sense is that the multiplicity of symptoms that people are reporting suggests to me and many others that it’s not one thing, but several syndromes. We’re not even at the starting point yet of knowing what it is,” she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 February 2021
  6. News Article
    Boris Johnson is being urged to launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers who are suffering from the long-term effects of coronavirus. The all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said the prime minister should recognise long Covid as an occupational disease, saying some sufferers have found it hard to return to work. A letter, signed by more than 60 MPs and peers, has been sent to Johnson. Layla Moran, the APPG’s chair, said: “Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic, and it is likely to have an enormous impact on society for many years to come. “When it comes to frontline NHS, care and key workers, they were specifically asked to go to work and save lives while everyone else was asked to stay at home." “They were exposed to an increased level of risk of catching the virus, often without adequate levels of PPE.” The group wants the government to follow France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, which have formally recognised Covid as an “occupational disease”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 February 2021
  7. News Article
    The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to prioritise rehabilitation for the medium and long term consequences of covid-19 and to gather information on “long covid” more systematically. WHO has produced a standardised form to report clinical data from individual patients after hospital discharge or after their acute illness to examine the medium and long term consequences of COVID-19.1 It has also set up technical working groups to build a consensus on the clinical description of what WHO now calls “the post-covid-19 condition” and to define research priorities. Speaking at the first of a series of seminars, WHO’s director general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, highlighted the “three Rs”—recognition, research, and rehabilitation. Recognition of the post-covid-19 condition was now increasing, he said, but still not enough research was carried out. He added that countries needed to show commitment to including rehabilitation as part of their healthcare service. “Long covid has an impact on the individual, on society, and on the economy,” he warned. Read full story Source: BMJ, 10 February 2021
  8. News Article
    Tens of thousands of coronavirus survivors needing long-term care are heaping pressure on Britain’s stretched community services, threatening a crisis that experts warn could dwarf that seen in hospitals over the past 12 months. As many as 100,000 intensive care patients, including up to 15,000 Covid-19 survivors, will need long-term community nursing care after being discharged from hospitals during the past 12 months, The Independent has been told. This will be on top of an as yet unknown number of Covid patients from the 350,000 treated on general wards since the pandemic began, as well as tens of thousands of people who were sick without going to hospital but have been left with debilitating symptoms of long Covid. Labour’s shadow health minister Liz Kendall warned: “There will be huge pressures on community services as people who need long-term support are discharged back into their own homes. “Ministers have got to put in place a proper workforce strategy for the NHS and community care otherwise we will see people struggling to recover and the burden of care could also fall on their families." “This is one of the long-term consequences of Covid that we haven’t begun to even think through yet.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 14 February 2021
  9. News Article
    The MP leading an investigation into coronavirus fears long Covid could cost the UK around £2.5 billion a year. Layla Moran believes the emerging crisis is comparable to the impact rheumatoid arthritis has on the health service, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to be dealing with the condition for months. The ONS says around one in ten people who test positive will go on to develop long Covid, a catch all term to describe a host of ongoing symptoms in coronavirus patients. More than 1.7 million COVID-19 infections have been reported since Christmas Day in the UK. Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Ms Moran – who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus, said: "The amount of money that we are expecting to spend long term on long Covid could be similar to rheumatoid arthritis. How many people know someone with rheumatoid arthritis? It is going to be higher for long Covid." Read full story Source: The Metro, 10 February 2021
  10. News Article
    One in three Covid patients put on a ventilator experience extensive symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to research, which adds to mounting evidence of the virus’s impact on mental health. The study of 13,049 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, by Imperial College London and the University of Southampton, found that one in five who were admitted to hospital but did not require a ventilator also experienced extensive symptoms of PTSD. The most common PTSD symptom experienced by COVID-19 patients was intrusive images, sometimes known as flashbacks. Examples of these could be images of the intensive care unit (ICU) environment, ICU doctors wearing full personal protective equipment or other patients in the ICU. The study, published in the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ BJPsych Open, on Tuesday, found lower levels of extensive symptoms of PTSD for patients given medical help at home (approximately one in six) and patients who required no help at home but experienced breathing problems (one in ten). Dr Adam Hampshire, from Imperial College London, said: “We can see that the pandemic is likely to be having an acute and lasting impact, including for a significant proportion of patients who remained at home with respiratory problems and received no medical help. This evidence could be important for informing future therapy and reducing the long-term health burden of this disease.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 February 2021
  11. News Article
    The MP leading an investigation into coronavirus fears Long Covid will be one of the biggest issues facing the UK for the next decade, after emerging research revealed most sufferers are still unable to work six months in. Layla Moran branded the scale of the problem ‘enormous’, as various experts warned that even healthy young adults have been left struggling to function for months on end. With hundreds of thousands of Brits now believed to have Long Covid, medics fear its impact on the world of work could herald another ‘massive economic crisis’. Workers in their 20s and 30s have told of a host of debilitating symptoms keeping them out of the office for much of last year and making simple tasks like walking to the toilet seem ‘like climbing a mountain’. Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Ms Moran – who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus – said: "The scale of this, in terms of the future prosperity of our country, is enormous. It is going to be, I think, one of the main issues that we are going to deal with not just in ten years but beyond." Read full story Source: Metro, 4 February 2021
  12. News Article
    When 60-year-old Milind Ketkar returned home after spending nearly a month in hospital battling COVID-19, he thought the worst was over. People had to carry him to his third-floor flat as his building didn't have a lift. He spent the next few days feeling constantly breathless and weak. When he didn't start to feel better, he contacted Dr Lancelot Pinto at Mumbai's PD Hinduja hospital, where he had been treated. Dr Pinto told him inflammation in the lungs, caused by Covid-19, had given him deep vein thrombosis - it occurs when blood clots form in the body and it often happens in the legs. Fragments can break off and move up the body into the lungs, blocking blood vessels and, said Dr Pinto, this can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated in time. Mr Ketkar spent the next month confined to his flat, taking tablets for his condition. "I was not able to move much. My legs constantly hurt and I struggled to do even daily chores. It was a nightmare," he says. He is still on medication, but he says he is on the road to recovery. Mr Ketkar is not alone in this - tens of thousands of people have been reporting post-Covid health complications from across the world. Thrombosis is common - it has been found in 30% of seriously ill coronavirus patients, according to experts. These problems have been generally described as "long Covid" or "long-haul Covid". Awareness around post-Covid care is crucial, but its not the focus in India because the country is still struggling to control the spread of the virus. It has the world's second-highest caseload and has been averaging 90,000 cases daily in recent weeks. Dr Natalie Lambert, research professor of medicine at Indiana University in the US, was one of the early voices to warn against post-Covid complications. She surveyed thousands of people on social media and noticed that an alarmingly high number of them were complaining about post-Covid complications such as extreme fatigue, breathlessness and even hair loss. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US reported its own survey results a few weeks later and acknowledged that at least 35% of those surveyed had not returned to their usual state of health. Post-Covid complications are more common among those who were seriously ill, but Dr Lambert says an increasing number of moderately ill patients - even those who didn't need to be admitted to hospital - haven't recovered fully. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 September 2020
  13. News Article
    Hundreds of thousands who survived the virus still have side-effects that range from loss of smell to chronic fatigue. "It started with a mild sore throat. I was in Devon at the beginning of the lockdown, and because I hadn’t been on a cruise ship, gone skiing in Italy or partying with the crowds at Cheltenham races, I didn’t think it could be COVID-19. Then I developed sinusitis. My GP was practical: “This is not a symptom of the virus,” he emailed me. But my sense of smell had disappeared. At first this wasn’t a sign but six months later, I still can’t tell the difference between the smell of an overripe banana or lavender. I can distinguish petrol but not gas, dog mess but not roses, bacon but not freshly cut grass. Everything else smells of burnt condensed milk." Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 23 September 2020
  14. News Article
    The government and NHS England appear unable to identify units set up to treat ‘long covid’, contrary to a claim by Matt Hancock in Parliament that the NHS had ‘set up clinics and announced them in July’. There are growing calls for wider services to support people who have had COVID-19 and continue to suffer serious follow-up illness for weeks or months. Hospitals run follow-up clinics for those who were previously admitted with the virus, but these are not generally open to those who were never admitted. Earlier this month the health secretary told the Commons health committee: “The NHS set up long covid clinics and announced them in July and I am concerned by reports from Royal College of General Practitioners that not all GPs know how to get into those services.” Asked by HSJ for details, DHSC and NHS England declined to comment on how many clinics had been set up to date, where they were located, how they were funded or how many more clinics were expected to be “rolled out”. However, two charities and support groups — Patient Safety Learning and the Long Covid Support Group — told HSJ they were not aware of dedicated long covid clinics for community patients. An enquiry from Patient Safety Learning to NHS England has not been answered. The number of people affected by long covid is unclear due to a lack of research but there are suggestions it could be half a million or more. Symptoms can include fatigue, sleeplessness, night-time hypoxia, “brain fog” and cardiac problems. It appears to affect more people who were not hospitalised with coronavirus than those who were were. There is some evidence that small clinics have been set up locally on a piecemeal basis, without national funding. HSJ has only been able to identify only one genuine “long covid clinics” open to those who have never been in hospital with covid. Trisha Greenhalgh, an Oxford University professor of primary care health sciences who has interviewed around 100 long covid sufferers, told HSJ: “Nobody I have interviewed had been seen in a long covid clinic but there is an awful lot of people who would like to be referred and who sound like the need to be but they haven’t.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 September 2020 Read the letter Patient Safety Learning sent to NHS England hub Community thread - Long Covid: Where are these clinics?
  15. News Article
    'Long Covid' is leaving people with so-called ‘brain fog’ for months after their initial recovery, NHS experts have revealed. Dr Michael Beckles, consultant respiratory and general physician at The Wellington Hospital, and the Royal Free NHS Foundation, said he has seen a number of patients suffering from ongoing effects of the disease. He said the main symptom being reported is breathlessness, with patients also describing a brain fog. Dr Beckles said: "I'm seeing more and more patients who have had Covid-19 infection confirmed in the laboratory and on X-ray, who have cleared the infection, and are now still presenting with persistent symptoms. "Some of those symptoms are respiratory, such as breathlessness, chronic cough. "And some have other symptoms such as what the patients describe as brain fog, and I understand that to be a difficulty in concentration." "Some still have loss of sense of taste or smell." He added that it can be frustrating for patients because investigations after the infection can be normal, yet the symptoms persist. Dr Beckles is part of a team of specialists at the new post-COVID-19 rehabilitation unit at The Wellington Hospital. Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 21 September 2020
  16. News Article
    Patients who receive good perioperative care can have fewer complications after surgery, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recovery times, shows a large review of research. The Centre for Perioperative Care, a partnership between the Royal College of Anaesthetists, other medical and nursing royal colleges, and NHS England, reviewed 27 382 articles published between 2000 and 2020 to understand the evidence about perioperative care, eventually focusing on 348 suitable studies. An estimated 10 million or so people have surgery in the NHS in the UK each year, with elective surgery costing £16bn a year. A perioperative approach can increase how prepared and empowered people feel before and after surgery. This can reduce complications and the amount of time that people stay in hospital after surgery, meaning that people feel better sooner and are able to resume their day-to-day life. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 17 September 2020
  17. News Article
    Thousands of stroke patients have suffered avoidable disability because NHS care for them was disrupted during the pandemic, a report claims. Many people who had just had a stroke found it harder to obtain clot-busting drugs or undergo surgery to remove a blood clot from their brain, both of which need to happen quickly. Rehabilitation services, which are vital to help reduce the impact of a stroke, also stopped working normally as the NHS focused on Covid, the Stroke Association said. It is concerned “many could lose out on the opportunity to make their best possible recovery”. Juliet Bouverie, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Strokes didn’t stop because of the pandemic. Despite the tireless efforts of frontline clinicians who have gone to herculean efforts to maintain services under extremely difficult conditions, some treatments still became unavailable and most stroke aftercare ground to a halt. This means more stroke survivors are now living with avoidable, unnecessary disability.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 September 2020
  18. News Article
    Tens of thousands of people may require kidney dialysis or transplants because of coronavirus, according to experts who warn the long-term effects of Covid are causing an “epidemic in primary care”. Up to 90% of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital may still experience symptoms two to three months later – from breathlessness to joint pain, fatigue and chest pain – scientists told the Lords science and technology committee on Tuesday. Donal O’Donoghue, a consultant renal physician at Salford Royal NHS trust, said damage to the kidneys was of major concern. It is believed the virus may attack the organ directly, he said, while the kidneys could also be injured by body-wide inflammation caused by the virus. “Normally we see maybe 20% of people that go on to intensive care unit need to have a form of dialysis. During Covid it was up to 40% – and 85% of people had some degree of kidney injury,” he said. “No doubt that is happening out in the community as well, probably to a lesser extent.” Tom Solomon, professor of neurology at the University of Liverpool, told the committee more needed to be done to support Covid survivors. “[GPs] are seeing lots of patients who are left over with problems from their Covid and they need to be able to refer them to get help in understanding what is going on,” he said, adding: “This is really the current epidemic in primary care.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 September 2020
  19. News Article
    The government has now officially recognised the long-term health implications some people can suffer after contracting coronavirus. Lung inflammation, gastrointestinal disturbance, and fatigue are just some of the listed long-term health effects published by Public Health England. But it’s no new revelation - as campaigners made up of politicians, expert clinicians and sufferers have fought hard over the past few months to bring what has become known as ‘long covid’ into the public domain. One of them is Jo Platt, former Labour MP for Leigh, who says the virus hit her ‘like a train’ in the week before lockdown in March - when it wasn’t possible to get a test. She's been left with symptoms months on - although recently tested negative twice for COVID-19. “It was like a train hitting me, like a switch, I felt so unwell for two days. I had general dizziness, fatigue but nothing you could pinpoint. I didn’t have a cough or a temperature, although I felt hot; had gastric trouble; shortness of breath; then it eased and I was okay and thought ‘thank goodness. It must have just been mild’,” Jo said. Two days later the symptoms came back, but that spell of illness lasted for two weeks. Jo said she couldn’t get out of bed, suffered intense headaches and a burning sensation in her lungs, was unable to concentrate and couldn’t read. “I’m not normally an anxious person, but then came anxiety", she said. "I felt a real sense of dread, a heightened pending sense of doom. It continued on and off for months, and particularly worsened at the weekend. The 48-year-old got in touch with her GP who said anxiety was bringing the symptoms on. It wasn’t until a week later when Jo read an article by Professor Paul Garner, of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who talked about his fight with symptoms, that she realised she wasn't alone. “Everything he was saying was the same as what I was going through. I cried and cried. It was all validated. Then the journey began of finding other people - which does make it feel better,” said the mum-of-three. Prof Garner has described coronavirus as a 'very bizarre disease' that left him feeling 'repeatedly battered the first two months' and then experiencing lesser episodes in the subsequent four months with continual fatigue. “Navigating help is really difficult,” he said in a BMJ webinar. With the help of Jo's connections in parliament, Prof Garner, and meetings with the shadow cabinet health team, a support group for long covid sufferers has been formed, which has 20,000 members. They’re calling for recognition, which they finally got from the government on 7 September 7, research and rehab. Matt Hancock said at the Health and Social Care Committee the following day: “The long-term impacts of covid are not very strongly correlated with severity of the initial illness. While we have a significant amount of work going into supporting those who come out of hospital, this is not just about people hospitalised. “In fact, this is especially relevant for now with the latest rise largely among young people, it doesn't matter how serious your infection was the first time, the impact of long covid can be really debilitating for a long period of time, no matter if your initial illness wasn't all that severe.” The Health Secretary, when questioned on calls by the Royal College of GPs for covid clinics, said the NHS has set up clinics, but he is ‘concerned’ that not all GPs know how to ensure people know how to get into those services. “That’s something I am sure we can resolve,” he added. Read full story Source: Manchester Evening News, 13 September 2020
  20. News Article
    PRESS RELEASE (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.
  21. News Article
    Greater NHS support is needed for people chronically ill for months with COVID-19 symptoms, experts have told BBC Radio 4's File on 4. The Royal College of GPs is calling for a national network of "post-Covid" clinics to help such people. But less than 12% of 86 NHS care commissioning groups asked by the BBC said they were running such services. NHS England said it was "rapidly expanding new and strengthened rehab centres". Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London and leader of the Covid Symptom Study app, said around 300,000 people in the UK have reported symptoms lasting for more than a month - so called "long Covid". He added that data from the app showed around 60,000 people have been ill for more than three months. However, many of these people may not have been tested for Covid. The government moved away from community testing on 12 March, instead only testing those admitted to hospital. That meant people who recovered from suspected coronavirus at home were unable to access tests. Elly MacDonald, 37, from Surbiton, was training for the London Marathon when she first developed what she believes were Covid symptoms on 21 March. More than five months on, she still suffers from breathlessness and extreme fatigue, but has not received a positive test result - because community testing was re-introduced too late for it to detect her illness. She changed her GP practice after initially feeling she was not being helped. Elly said: "Just knowing that I actually have people who are taking me seriously - that's been very important for my recovery. I just want my life back." Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 September 2020
  22. News Article
    The lungs and hearts of patients damaged by the coronavirus improve over time, a study has shown. Researchers in Austria recruited coronavirus patients who had been admitted to hospital. The patients were scheduled to return for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks after being discharged, in what is said to be the first prospective follow-up of people infected with COVID-19, which will be presented at today's European Respiratory Society International Congress. Clinical examinations, laboratory tests, analysis of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood, and lung function tests were carried out during these visits. At the time of their first visit, more than half of the patients had at least one persistent symptom, predominantly breathlessness and coughing, and CT scans still showed lung damage in 88% of patients. But by the time of their next visit, 12 weeks after discharge, the symptoms had improved, and lung damage was reduced to 56%. Dr Sabina Sahanic, a clinical PhD student at the University Clinic in Innsbruck and part of the team that carried out the study, said: "The bad news is that people show lung impairment from COVID-19 weeks after discharge; the good news is that the impairment tends to ameliorate over time, which suggests the lungs have a mechanism for repairing themselves." A separate presentation to the congress said that the sooner COVID-19 patients started a pulmonary rehabilitation programme after coming off ventilators, the better and faster their recovery. Yara Al Chikhanie, a PhD student at the Dieulefit Sante clinic for pulmonary rehabilitation and the Hp2 Lab at the Grenoble Alps University in France, used a walking test to evaluate the weekly progress of 19 patients who had spent an average of three weeks in intensive care and two weeks in a pulmonary ward before being transferred to a clinic for pulmonary rehabilitation. She said: "The most important finding was that patients who were admitted to pulmonary rehabilitation shortly after leaving intensive care progressed faster than those who spent a longer period in the pulmonary ward where they remained inactive. The sooner rehabilitation started and the longer it lasted, the faster and better was the improvement in patients' walking and breathing capacities and muscle gain." Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 September 2020
  23. News Article
    Nearly three-quarters of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital suffer ongoing symptoms three months later, new research suggests. A total of 81 patients out of 110 discharged from Southmead Hospital in Bristol were still experiencing symptoms from the virus, including breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches, after 12 weeks. Many were struggling to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing or going back to work, the study found. The majority of patients reported improvements in the initial symptoms of fever, cough and loss of sense of smell, and most had no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function. The findings are part of North Bristol NHS Trust's Discover project, which is studying the longer-term effects of coronavirus - so-called Long COVID. An intensive care doctor, Dr Jake Suett, told Sky News in June that he was still suffering COVID-19 symptoms three months after contracting the disease. Dr Jake Suett, 31, had no underlying health conditions but was still suffering chest pain, breathlessness, blurred vision, memory loss, a high temperature, concentration problems. Dr Rebecca Smith, from North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "There's still so much we don't know about the long-term effects of coronavirus, but this study has given us vital new insight into what challenges patients may face in their recovery and will help us prepare for those needs." Read full story Source: Sky News, 20 August 2020
  24. News Article
    A third of doctors have treated patients with long term COVID-19 symptoms, including chronic fatigue and anosmia, a survey conducted by the BMA has found. Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP committee for England, said it was clear that the long term impact of COVID-19 on patients and the NHS would be profound. “With more patients presenting with conditions as the result of infection, it’s essential that sufficient capacity is in place to support and treat them,” Vautrey said. “With the growing backlog of non-COVID-19 treatment, the likelihood of a season flu outbreak, and the possibility of a second wave of infections we need to see a more comprehensive long term plan to enable doctors to care for their patients this winter and beyond.” The survey also asked doctors about their own experiences of COVID-19: 63% said they did not believe they had contracted the virus, 12% had had a diagnosis of COVID-19 confirmed by testing, and 14% believed they had been infected with the virus. David Strain, co-chair of the BMA’s medical academic staff committee, said that the NHS could not afford more failures of quality and supply in personal protective equipment. “Risk assessments should be available to all working in the NHS and appropriate steps should be put in place to mitigate the risk of catching the virus, even in those that have a low risk of a bad outcome from the initial infection,” he said. Read full story Source: BMJ, 13 August 2020
  25. News Article
    Coronavirus patients who have lived with symptoms for up to five months have spoken about the huge impact it has had on their lives. "Long Covid" support groups have appeared on social media and the government says "tens of thousands" of people have long-term problems after catching the virus, such as extreme fatigue. Daliah, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, said: "It's scary because we don't know how permanent this is. There are times where I feel like life will never be normal again, my body will never be normal again." The NHS has launched a Your Covid Recovery website to offer support and advice to people affected. See video here