Page last updated: 18 February, 2021, 3:51pm
Long COVID clinics
Post-acute COVID-19 assessment clinics open Monday 14 December
From Monday 14 December, a multidisciplinary service is opening across England for patients presenting 12 weeks after suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis with complex symptoms. Generally called “long COVID clinics”, these are launching across the country on the same day.
The clinics have been established with the knowledge and resources available in December 2020 but are subject to change, with updated pathways, as our learning evolves.
There is a direct referral pathway for mid and south Essex patients into this service using an electronic referral form. However, before patients are referred it is vital that other diagnoses that may account for these symptoms, should be ruled out first. If other pathologies are not excluded the referrals may not proceed.
Equally, once alternative pathologies have been excluded, if the patient’s symptoms are non-complex, a referral should be made to the appropriate community service directly, as per the attached Directory of Services. If the patient’s symptoms are sufficiently complex as to require a multi-disciplinary assessment, a referral should be made to the Long COVID Clinic.
A diagram outlining the referral pathway is available for download below, along with the referral form (also available in SystmOne) and the COVID Directory of Services. The Single Point of Access (SPA) addresses to which practices can email the form if they are not referring via SystmOne are given on the form itself. All these resources will be on the Health and Care Partnership website from Monday for easy access.
All patients referred into the long COVID service go through a robust triage and functional screening process. Patients will be booked into a largely virtual MDT which assesses the patient online and then refers cases requiring further specialist input to an appropriate provider. Both clinicians and non-clinical support staff are working within the MDT.
A GP will always be part of the MDT to provide holistic input and avoid unnecessary tasking back to primary care. Low complexity patients in particular will have an exit route back to social prescribing Link Workers and then on to non-NHS services.
Provide CIC is the host organisation for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership long COVID clinic. As noted above, most MDT work is expected to be virtual with face-to-face assessments if required.
Discussions currently taking place with secondary care specialities regarding onward referral management but in all cases equity of care is paramount and long COVID patients referred on will not ‘leapfrog’ others on those services’ waiting lists.