The NHS service is for adults with a Kingston or Richmond GP who have continued to be affected four weeks or more after having, or suspecting they have had Covid if testing was not available. It offers a range of support for people who struggle to carry out everyday activities because of the after-effects of the virus. Long Covid symptoms are wide ranging and fluctuating, and include severe fatigue, breathlessness, headaches, muscle aches, brain fog, and heart rate changes.
Róisín Hyde Clinical Lead/Occupational Therapist, Richmond Long Covid Service, said: “Lots of people are no longer testing for Covid when they’re poorly and as they’ve not had a positive test, may not be sure if their ongoing symptoms are being caused by Long Covid.
“We are urging anyone who is worried about ongoing symptoms four weeks or more since a confirmed or possible Covid infection to get in touch with us to discuss what kind of strategies may help to manage their symptoms and aid their recovery. We can give people guidance on what kind of investigations we recommend they discuss with their GP and contact their doctor to let them know that we have been in touch.”
Once this contact is made with the service, it is essential that patients are seen by their GP before receiving further support from the service, to make sure other medical conditions that require treatment are ruled out.
We really don’t want people to suffer in silence with Long Covid symptoms when we know there are things that can help them.”Dr Annette Pautz, Kingston GP
Kingston GP and Kingston and Richmond Long Covid Lead, Dr Annette Pautz, added: “It can be easy for people to feel like the Covid pandemic is over, but unfortunately the virus is very much still with us and active in our local communities. We really don’t want people to suffer in silence with Long Covid symptoms when we know there are things that can help them. Many patients reported for instance that breathing re-training helps to correct their breathlessness especially when it is caused by a breathing pattern disorder.
“Anyone worried that they might be suffering can contact their GP, but it is great news that they can now also contact the service directly for some advice and support.”
Read about Simon’s experience with Long Covid
Richmond resident Simon has recently used the Long Covid Service, he shares his experiences: “I first suspected I might have Long Covid because I was really exhausted after exercise and more generally. I also had some cognitive problems with concentrating and forgetting words and names – but that was relatively mild.
“After being referred to the service I had some great advice and was referred on again to the Active Breathing Course run by local charity Voices Of Hope. The course was helpful, especially combined with what I learnt through my time under the Long Covid Service. I think the biggest breakthrough for me was to accept that I had an ‘energy budget’, and to figure out how to live within it most of the time. This helped me break out of the cycle of crashing after over-exerting myself.
“For anyone who is dealing with Long Covid, I would advise being patient and kind to yourself. It’s very real – so don’t beat yourself up with doubts about that. Based on what I saw you cannot ‘run it off’. I’d really encourage people to take up the option of having advice from professionals working with other Long Covid patients, so get in touch with them and see what they suggest. You don’t have to face this alone.”
If you would like to discuss a patient/are worried you might have Long Covid:
Email [email protected]
Call 020 8274 7088
Email [email protected]
Call 020 8614 7380