Publish date: 07 October 2020

Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England visited our long COVID-19 clinic today to learn more about the service at UCLH.

The team see a mix of post-hospital and community-managed patients who have ongoing issues following COVID-19. Wherever possible, the team aim to offer a one-stop, face-to-face multi-professional assessment with diagnostics. The clinic has been led by integrated respiratory physicians with input from physiotherapy, infection doctors, psychology, cardiologists and neurologists.

Sir Simon also announced today £10 million to be invested this year in additional local funding to help kick start and designate Long Covid clinics in every area across England, to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care.

Dr Melissa Heightman, respiratory physician and clinical lead for the post-Covid-19 service, said: “The clinic has been running for five months now and we've learnt a huge amount about the needs of patients at different time points following their recovery from the acute phase of COVID-19. Our current focus is on trying to understand some of the mechanisms underlying “ long COVID” and on defining the best rehabilitation approach and any therapeutic options for these patients. The additional funding announced today is much needed by the integrated care system to enable community pathways for assessment to ensure equitable access of patients to care and swifter entry to appropriate rehabilitation. Specialist clinics such as ours have a useful role to inform the practice across such pathways and as a platform for important research in this area.“

Prof Marcel Levi said: ”The UCLH post-covid clinic has seen 900 patients since mid May. We support moves to increase access for the growing patient groups with post-Covid-19 symptoms and the efforts to treat and rehabilitate patients who are often young and their quality of life has been seriously impacted. There is a growing need to understand and offer access to care especially when, as a new illness, many struggle to access adequate care through traditional routes."