Targeted support based on views of patients and clinicians.
Projects to improve the care and support available for people with long COVID are to benefit from an initial tranche of £3 million of Scottish Government funding.
Following a thorough planning process undertaken by health boards to determine the key priorities, the first allocations of the long COVID Support Fund across 2022 will provide £3 million for boards to introduce care co-ordinator roles, extra resource to support a patient-centred assessment, including a multi-disciplinary assessment service, and additional capacity for community rehabilitation to support people with issues affecting their day-to-day quality of life.
Support for people with long COVID is already available across a full range of NHS services. However, this additional investment has been informed by patient experience and expert views brought together by the long COVID Strategic Network set up by the Scottish Government – drawing on priorities identified by people affected by long COVID and recommendations from clinicians.
As well as the awards to boards, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) has also been awarded £370,000 to support a national programme of improvement work led by the National Strategic Network – this includes £200,000 to provide digital tools to support the care of people with long COVID. The network will also provide an analysis of the specific needs of children and young people living with long COVID in Scotland
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who announced the allocation during a Scottish Parliament debate, said:
“We have already supported thousands of people struggling with long COVID through a wide range of measures but the investment announced today has been shaped by priorities highlighted by people with long COVID themselves. We’ve engaged directly with NHS Boards, alongside clinical experts and those with lived experience, to identify the support that they need. This will help ensure the investment through our £10 million long COVID support fund will make the biggest different to people living with long COVID.
“Given the range of symptoms which can be involved, we know there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ response and our approach is to support people with long COVID to access care and support in a setting that is appropriate and as close to their home as practicable.
“It’s for each board to explore what is the best service they can provide, this can include a Long COVID Clinic if they believe that is the best model to adopt - and today’s funding will help boards to bolster existing provision for those with long COVID. However, just because a service doesn’t say ‘long COVID’ on the plaque when you walk through the door, it doesn’t mean that these services cannot provide, or are not providing, a long COVID service. There is not a specific treatment being provided within long COVID clinics elsewhere that is not already available to those accessing NHS Scotland services.”
NHS Highland Associate AHP Director, Linda Currie said: “The funding allocation is welcomed. Self-management will be offered and we will recruit Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy to support holistic interventions like fatigue management, vocational rehab, goal planning and dysfunctional breathing. This funding will support coordination of care across the relevant clinical teams and our partners.”
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