Specialist long Covid services set up for children

The NHS is setting up specialist long Covid services for children and young people as part of a £100 million expansion of care for those suffering from the condition.

NHS England says that the 15 new paediatric hubs will draw together experts on common symptoms such as respiratory problems and fatigue who can directly treat youngsters, advise family doctors or others caring for them or refer them into other specialist services and clinics.

Approximately £30 million will also go to GPs to improve diagnosis and care for those with long Covid while the new investment will also boost online services.

There is already a network of specialist long COVID clinics which have been given £34 million of funding. Some £70 million of the new investment will extend these clinics and set up the paediatric hubs.

Estimates suggest that 340,000 people may need support for the condition including 68,000 who will need rehab or other specialist treatment. More than one million people have reported suffering from long COVID, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, is expected to say: “The NHS has worked hard to care for 400,000 Covid patients requiring hospital treatment and keep essential services going through successive waves and we now need to step up action to deal with the legacy. One of the major health challenges emerging from the pandemic is long Covid with hundreds of thousands of people predicted to suffer debilitating health issues such as breathing problems and fatigue.

“That is why the NHS is now going to invest £100 million in specialist services, including care for children and young people so that parents know advice is on hand through the new hubs to provide patients and their families with the help, support and care that they need. This is just the latest example of how NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to provide care for those who need it throughout this terrible pandemic.”

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