New dedicated service to help people with Long Covid launched in North Wales
People across North Wales with symptoms of Long Covid are now able to access support through a new dedicated service.
Long Covid Syndrome is defined as Covid-19 symptoms, which persist for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
The condition usually presents as multiple symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within the body.
The most common Long Covid symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, pain, problems with concentration and memory, and resulting low mood and anxiety.
The Long Covid Service aims to support patients experiencing the effects of the condition, which can significantly affect their ability to function in day-to-day life.
If patients suspect they have Long Covid, they can self-refer through the Health Board website.
Alternatively they can contact their GP practice to discuss their symptoms. Before referring them to the service the GP practice will ensure appropriate medical investigations are undertaken.
The service is run by a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals, which includes Advanced Practitioners, Clinical Health Psychologists, a GP, Physiotherapists and Assistant Practitioners.
The team provide a comprehensive and holistic assessment of the ways in which Long Covid is affecting patients’ lives.
The team work collaboratively with patients to provide a range of support and interventions, individually tailored to their needs.
Claire Jones, Advanced Clinical Practitioner and Long COVID Therapy Lead at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “The first stage of the journey for our patients is for us to ensure that any appropriate organ-specific investigations relevant to their symptoms are carried out.”
“This allows us to rule out alternative causes of symptoms, and also to treat any contributing conditions.”
“In order to do this, our team conduct a thorough clinical assessment, before agreeing a treatment plan in collaboration with the patient.”
“As we are a newly established service, we have an ongoing recruitment programme to continue building our team.”
“We have had a very large number of referrals in the short period since we launched our service, and we appreciate people’s patience at this time.”
The service adheres to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guidance (NICE, 2021) and follows Welsh Government principles around providing care in the community, closer to home, and linked into existing local services.
It has therefore been set up to deliver care from multiple sites across North Wales.
Dr Rachel Skippon, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychology Lead for the Long Covid Service said: “The Long Covid Service provides a range of support and clinical interventions individually tailored to patient needs.”
“These include: a pacing programme for fatigue management, support for better sleep, exercises and strategies for managing breathlessness, intervention for “brain fog” issues such as memory and concentration difficulties, medication review and monitoring, pain management, help for low mood and anxiety; and support for the ways in which Long Covid is affecting people’s roles and responsibilities in their wider life at home and at work.”
- For further information and for details on how to self-refer to the service please visit: Long COVID Service Self-Referral – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (nhs.wales)