Longer-term effects of COVID-19 infection

As the coronavirus pandemic has progressed, there has been an increase in the clinical awareness of the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 virus. This is known as ‘Long COVID’.

While most people recover quickly from the virus, unfortunately some people may have ongoing symptoms. There can be a range of symptoms which can affect different parts of the body. These may overlap and change over time.

These symptoms are not limited to people who were seriously unwell or hospitalised when they first caught the virus.

We recognise that clinical input, rehabilitation and research are all critical to supporting people’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. That is why have prioritised the development of a clinical guideline, the implementation of the ‘Framework for Supporting People through Recovery and Rehabilitation’, and directly funding research into the longer-term effects of COVID-19.

  • a UK wide guideline on the persistent effects of COVID-19 has been developed by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners. The guideline has been developed using a ‘living’ approach, which means that it will be continuously reviewed and updated in response to emerging evidence.
  • the Framework on Recovery and Rehabilitation from COVID-19 provides clear principles, priorities and objectives to support planning to meet increasing demand and to provide high quality person-centred rehabilitation in different settings. A National Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation has been convened to oversee its implementation.
  • The Chief Scientist Office has funded 9 extensive research projects on Long COVID through £2.5 million of funding, and this will increase clinical knowledge on the long-term effects of COVID-19
  • a working group, chaired by Dr Nadine Cossette, is implementing actions to ensure people with mental health needs, that relate to hospitalisation from COVID-19, are able to access the right care and support for them

More information

Further information about the longer-term effects of COVID-19 (Long COVID) is available on the NHS Inform website.