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'Long COVID' centre opened at St Thomas' Hospital

London SE1 website team

St Thomas' Hospital is hosting one of 60 centres set up by the NHS across England to treat and support patients suffering with long-term symptoms of coronavirus.

St Thomas' Hospital

The new assessment centres are taking referrals from GPs for people experiencing brain fog, anxiety, depression, breathlessness, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms.

NHS England has provided 10 million for the network of clinics, which started opening last month. There are now 69 operating across the country with hundreds of patients already getting help.

One of the new clinics is at St Thomas' Hospital.

New research has shown one in five people with coronavirus develop longer term symptoms. Around 186,000 people suffer problems for up to 12 weeks, the Office for National Statistics found.

The new centres bring together doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical and psychological assessments and refer patients to the right treatment and rehabilitation services.

Patients can access services if they are referred by a GP or another healthcare professional, so that doctors can first rule out other possible underlying causes for symptoms.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: "The NHS is taking practical action to help patients suffering ongoing health issues as a result of coronavirus.

"Bringing expert clinicians together in these clinics will deliver an integrated approach to support patients access vital rehabilitation, as well as helping develop a greater understanding of long covid and its debilitating symptoms."

The NHS has also launched a long COVID taskforce, with patients, charities, researchers and clinicians involved, to help lead the NHS response to long covid, produce information and support materials for patients and healthcare professionals, and develop a wider understanding of the condition.

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