Five south east London NHS trusts join forces to tackle long COVID

Thursday 22 September 2022

Professor Nick Hart

Professor Nick Hart

In a first-of-its-kind programme, five NHS trusts and their hospital charities have joined forces to make sure people from all communities that are living with long COVID can get the very best care.

The five hospital charities and NHS Charities Together will fund a flagship UK initiative that will harness the expertise of individual NHS trusts in south east London to develop a ‘gold standard’ of multi-disciplinary care. They are:

  • Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity
  • King’s College Hospital Charity
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity
  • Maudsley Charity
  • Oxleas NHS Trust Charity

Long COVID is the name given to a variety of symptoms that persist after a person has recovered from COVID-19. The main symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.

South east London has some of the most diverse communities in the UK – with people from Black and other minoritised ethnic communities more likely to live with pre-existing long-term health conditions, live on low or fluctuating incomes and work in frontline ‘key worker’ roles: all factors which can make people significantly more vulnerable to long COVID.

Public engagement specialists from London South Bank University have been working with the Joint programme for patient, carer and public involvement in COVID-19 recovery, which is funded by Guy's & St Thomas' Charity and King's College Hospital Charity, to find out about the barriers that some people face when accessing care for long COVID. This will make sure the new programme will reach those that already carry the heaviest burden of health inequalities.

Professor Nick Hart, deputy medical director of the heart, lung and critical care clinical group at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working in south east London we serve one of the most diverse populations in the world, but alongside this comes stark health inequalities.

“Thanks to generous donations by the public, we will be setting up a dedicated holistic, evidence-based treatment pathway to ensure people from all communities living with long COVID get the very best care, co-designed by patients themselves.”

The lessons learnt through the programme will help shape pathways to treat other long-term conditions.

Last updated: September 2022

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