Help for those with longer-term symptoms.
Thousands more people living with long COVID will find it easier to get help as the Scottish Government boosts funding for an advice line.
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) has been awarded £157,000 to continue offering expert advice on how to manage long COVID symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness.
The charity will recruit extra staff to ensure more people can speak to a trained nurse who can offer practical support for anyone struggling with the long-term effects of COVID.
This service is helping ease winter pressure on the NHS by enabling people to speak directly to healthcare practitioners from the comfort of their own homes. This is one of the many ways the Scottish Government is boosting care in the community to help ease pressure on A&E departments.
This complements the support for long COVID already being delivered by NHS boards. The Scottish Government has made an initial £3 million available to boards to develop local pathways providing co-ordinated access to services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and mental health support.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“I recognise how debilitating long COVID is for many people across Scotland – it is therefore vital that people can get help to manage their symptoms and know when to escalate and see a doctor.
“Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s service is helping people with long COVID across Scotland from the comfort of their own homes – helping support them sooner and easing the pressure on our NHS over the winter months.”
CHSS Interim Chief Executive Allan Cowie said: “There are 180,000 people living with Long COVID in Scotland today and they desperately need services like this to help them get their lives back.
“CHSS is grateful to the Scottish Government for funding the national CHSS Advice Line. The advice line is a key part of the Pathway service, and this funding means we’re ready and able to work with every health board and GP in Scotland.”
Advice line user Chloe Folta, 26, from Penicuik became ill with COVID-19 in December 2021.
The biology and science teacher said:
“I was referred to CHSS in March. I filled out an online survey that asked what kind of support or help I needed, so I was able to request telephone support. And that was so helpful to me.
“The calls were partly about how I could manage my symptoms, deal with the pain and eventually get back to work, and they were really specific to me, which was great. What was really beneficial was that CHSS gave me advice on how to talk to my doctor about the symptoms.
“I still suffer from fatigue and muscle and chest pain. Brain fog has been a real issue, too. I was very active before, and it’s been hard to adjust and scale back to doing almost nothing.
“It felt very supportive to speak to someone from CHSS and know that someone understood and was sympathetic to what I was going through. Having this service is a must for people in my situation. We all need that support.”
Two community support co-ordinators will deliver one-to-one and group support, and five healthcare practitioners will work on the CHSS Advice Line to offer expert support, advice and reassurance to anyone living with long COVID.
To contact the Advice Line nurses:
- Call 0808 801 0899 (FREE from landlines and mobiles)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Text NURSE to 66777
All NHS Scotland boards are providing assessment and support for people with long COVID, delivered across the full range of NHS services.
Initiatives being supported by the long COVID Support Fund include key elements of care that are also offered by long COVID assessment clinics elsewhere in the UK, including single point of access for assessment and co-ordinated support from services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other services, depending on what is most appropriate for a person’s needs.
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