Seven ‘Long Covid’ clinics have been earmarked for North East of England in a bid to help patients suffering from the debilitating effects of the virus.
The specialist clinics will be part of a network of more than 40 across England that are expected to be opened by the end of the month.
The NHS estimates more than 60,000 people in the UK are suffering from 'Long Covid' which can cause continuing fatigue, brain fog’, breathlessness and pain for months after being infected.
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Long Covid is already having a very serious impact on many people’s lives and could well go on to affect hundreds of thousands.
That is why, while treating rising numbers of patients who are sick with the virus and many more who do not have it, the NHS is taking action to address those suffering ongoing health issues.
“These pioneering ‘Long Covid’ clinics will help address the very real problems being faced by patients today while the taskforce will help the NHS develop a greater understanding of the lasting effects of coronavirus.”
The seven sites earmarked in the North East will join ten in the Midlands, six in the East of England, South West and South East respectively, five in London and three in the North West.
NHS England has provided £10 million to fund the clinics, which will be able to give patients who have been hospitalised, an official diagnosis after a test.
Patients will be referred to the clinics via a GP referral or other healthcare professionals.
A study from King’s College London found that older people, women and those with a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of their illness were more likely to develop 'Long Covid'.
Unable to shake off the side effects eight weeks after infection.
Evidence also shows 'Long Covid' can be categorised into four different syndromes:
Post intensive care syndrome
Post viral fatigue syndrome
Permanent organ damage
Long term Covid syndrome
At the moment it is unclear exactly where the clinics in the North East will be based.