GPs will be funded to treat patients suffering with long Covid via a new enhanced service worth £30m, NHS England has announced.
It comes as NHS England today announced that GPs will soon be able to refer children and young people to new long Covid clinics as the specialist services are expanded.
It said it will set up 15 paediatric long Covid clinics, using £70m of a £100m investment in expanding care for the condition, while the other £30m would ‘go to GPs to improve diagnosis and care for those with Long Covid’.
In a bulletin send to GPs this evening, NHS England added that the £30m will be ‘made available to GPs to support around long Covid through a new enhanced service’.
It added that further details ‘will be made available shortly’.
According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), long Covid is still affecting about a million people in the UK, with the number of patients living with symptoms for many months on the rise.
In December, 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.
But 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.
In March, the Government announced that NHS talking therapy services will be funded to link up with long Covid clinics as part of efforts to mitigate the mental health impacts of the pandemic.