‘Long COVID’ service available by autumn in Derry

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A new service for people suffering from ‘long COVID’ will be up and running within weeks.

Dr. Bob Brown, Western Trust Executive Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People’s Services, said the Trust is working with the Department of Health (DoH) on delivery of the service.

“We are, with the support of DoH and Social Care Board (HSCB), putting into place services for people who have experienced COVID, staff as well as the local community, and post-COVID syndrome as it is known or ‘long COVID’.

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“So by this early autumn we intend to have a service for people who have lived through a diagnosis of COVID,” said Dr. Brown.

Dr. Bob BrownDr. Bob Brown
Dr. Bob Brown

Post-COVID-19 syndrome is a debilitating condition that can manifest itself in a range of symptoms.

Health experts do not believe its severity is linked to how ill a patient has been with the original COVID-19 infection.

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People who have experienced mild symptoms can still suffer long term, according to the NHS.

Common symptoms of ‘long COVID’ include extreme tiredness (fatigue), shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’), difficulty sleeping (insomnia), heart palpitations, dizziness, pins and needles, joint pain, depression and anxiety, tinnitus, earaches, feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste and rashes.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said new post-COVID-19 syndrome services will include the following services: bespoke pulmonary rehabilitation/dysfunctional breathing service for patients with significant respiratory symptoms post COVID-19; follow up services for patients discharged from critical care (both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19); strengthening psychology support to all Trusts; and also, signposting and access to self-management resources for patients.