NHS to launch coronavirus rehab service

Tens of thousands of people who are suffering long-term effects of coronavirus will benefit from a new on-demand recovery service.

NHS England has said that nurses and physiotherapists will be on hand to reply to patients’ needs either online or over the phone as part of the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service. It forms part of NHS plans to expand access to coronavirus rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has hailed the new service as a great example of the way the health service is increasingly harnessing technology and innovation to enhance the face to face care that doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff can provide in a safe and convenient way.

Patients who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus will have access to a face-to-face consultation with their local rehabilitation team, usually comprising of physiotherapists, nurses and mental health specialists. Then, those who need it will be offered a personalised package of online-based aftercare lasting up to 12 weeks, available later this Summer.

The service will also include: an online peer-support community for survivors; exercise tutorials that people can do from home to help them regain muscle strength and lung function in particular, and; mental health support, which may include a psychologist within the online hub or referral into NHS mental health services along with information on what to expect post-coronavirus.

Stevens said: “Covid-19 has been the biggest challenge in the NHS’s history, and the fact that we have come through the first peak without services being overwhelmed and being able to give expert care to everyone who needed it, is testament all our frontline and support staff.

“Now, as we celebrate the birthday of the NHS and look ahead to the next phase of our response, while in-person care will continue to be vital, the health service is embracing the best that new technology can offer us to meet the significant level of new and ongoing need.

“Rolling out Your COVID Recovery, alongside expanding and strengthening community health and care services, is another example of how the NHS must bring the old and the new together to create better and more convenient services for patients.”