Support service launched to help patients after COVID-19

PEOPLE recovering from COVID-19 across Bradford District and Craven will benefit from a support service provided by the NHS that has been launched today (Wednesday, 11 August).

The service developed, by a range of health and care professionals through the Act as One health and care partnership, will be available to those who continue to display ‘post COVID’ symptoms 12 weeks after they have should have recovered from the virus.

People with post COVID may experience breathlessness, fatigue, and chest pains linked to possible damage to the lungs and heart and impact on the brain (cognitive impairment) as well as psychological symptoms.

Therapy support

People experiencing symptoms of post COVID will be referred to the new service by their GP or hospital consultant. Support includes advice on self-management, access to psychological services through to therapy support. The service is based on nationally developed guidelines from NHS England and NHS Improvement based on guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Dr Katherine Hickman, GP and Respiratory Lead for NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have been working across a range of clinical disciplines to fully understand the support people need as they recover from COVID-19. For some people – irrespective of age – the medium to long-term impact of COVID-19 on both their physical and mental health can be quite significant. This new support service will help health and care professionals and our patients to get access to the most appropriate service so we can work together to aid their recovery.”

Dr Paul Whitaker, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Bradford District and Craven were one of the first areas to develop specialist clinics to support patients and help us understand how COVID-19 affects people’s physical and psychological wellbeing. We have used that learning, working alongside our primary and community care colleagues, to develop a holistic support package for people recovering from COVID-19.“

Assessment process

Karen Dawber, Senior Responsible Owner for the Act as One Respiratory Programme, and Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “Our post COVID service will be available for people who meet the eligibility criteria. We have set up a straightforward assessment process using a standardised tool that people can access through an app.

“For those who are unable to, or lack confidence in using smartphones or tablets we will offer a telephone screening service. At this point one of our pathway co-ordinators will contact the patient to fully understand the patient’s story, symptoms and understand their main goals. We want services to be as accessible as possible and we will tailor the offer to meet individuals’ requirements. This is another great example of how we are working together, under Act as One, as an integrated health and care system across Bradford District and Craven.”

Anyone referred to the service will receive six weekly follow-ups to see how they are progressing in their recovery which will include reviewing clinical and patient experience. A patient information leaflet will be provided offering advice on how people can continue to take steps to improve their health, including physical and mental wellbeing tips and links to relevant support.

The post COVID pathway has been developed by colleagues across Bradford District and Craven under the Act as One Respiratory Programme.