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General practice long Covid plan due this spring, says minister

General practice long Covid plan due this spring, says minister

A plan to ‘further clarify the role of general practice’ in supporting patients with long Covid is due this spring, a health minister has said.

Lord Kamall, parliamentary under-secretary for the DHSC, mentioned the new plan in a written response to Baroness Masham of Ilton, a crossbench peer.

Baroness Masham had asked what steps the Government is taking to ‘encourage GPs to develop expertise in long Covid’ to allow them to help patients with the condition.

In his reply, Lord Kamall said the previously-announced long Covid GP enhanced service would ‘increase knowledge on identifying, assessing, referring and supporting patients experiencing the long term effects of Covid-19’. 

But he also added: ‘NHS England and NHS Improvement are also developing a plan to further clarify the role of general practice, which is due for publication in spring 2022.’

It comes as NICE published its final guideline on long Covid in November last year, which said GPs should consider referring patients with long-term symptoms of Covid-19 to specialist clinics as soon as four weeks after acute infection after ruling out other diagnoses.

At least 93% of GP practices signed up to deliver the long Covid enhanced service.

In June, NHS England announced that GPs would be funded to treat patients suffering with long Covid via a new enhanced service worth £30m.

It also sai GPs would soon be able to refer children and young people to new long Covid clinics – with the specialist services set to expand to include 15 paediatric hubs.

In December last year, new NICE guidance recommended that GPs should consider referring long Covid patients to specialist clinics as soon as four weeks after acute infection, after ruling out other diagnoses.

NHS England announced at the time that 69 long Covid clinics were in place around the country, with more sites expected to open in January this year.

GPs previously warned that access to existing long Covid clinics is patchy, with only one fifth (21%) of GPs saying they currently had access to a clinic in their local area.

Detailed analysis of UK data has shown that being fully vaccinated against coronavirus cuts the risk of long Covid in half in the small proportion of people who get a breakthrough infection.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 6 April, 2022 4:10 pm

Ah, you infected the public carelessly. Now want to create a “solution” to save them. Wow.

Dave Haddock 6 April, 2022 5:48 pm

Being self employed seems to exert a powerful protective effect against long covid.

Patrufini Duffy 7 April, 2022 2:35 pm

I agree Dave. Seems to be a Mon-Thur phenomenon. Improved by prosecco and the gym, worsened by general boredom and snowflakes.