‘At least’ 93% of GP practices have signed up to deliver the long Covid enhanced service, NHS England has said.
In new board papers published last month, NHS England said that ‘good progress’ has been made on its long Covid plan.
It said: ‘At least 93% of GPs have taken up the enhanced service for long Covid to help them with training, data collection and ensuring equality of access to NHS services.
‘We hope to begin collecting evidence of improved outcomes and patient experience for the patients benefitting from them.’
The papers added that 90 specialist post-Covid clinics have now been set up around England, as well as 14 paediatric hubs designed to ‘provide expert support to local services’.
They said: ‘The purpose of the clinics is to help people recover following an episode of Covid-19 and so the focus is on tailored rehabilitation following diagnostic tests to rule out organ damage.’
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 announced at the same time that 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.
It comes as a 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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