Long COVID services were put in place in Oldham at the end of 2020 in response to increasing demand.
For some people COVID-19 (coronavirus) can cause symptoms that last several weeks or months after the initial symptoms of infection have gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or “Long COVID”.
Speaking about the investment, Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “I’m pleased that this funding has been made available as whilst COVID restrictions have gone away I know that many people are still struggling with the effects of the virus.
“If you’ve had COVID and are continuing to have lasting symptoms then please don’t suffer in silence. We have help and support available for you right here in Oldham so don’t hesitate to speak to your GP should you need to.”
Some symptoms of Long COVID include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus, earache
- Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
Most people who develop any of these symptoms improve with time and support from their GP. However sometimes they may need more specialist help. The Oldham Long COVID service aims to work with patients to understand their experience and develop a plan to help.
The Service can offer the following referrals for patients depending on their symptoms:
- Fatigue Service
- Post Covid Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- Healthy Minds (or psychological medicine if more complex issues)
Additional funding will allow for additional staff to bolster the service, increase capacity, reduce the waiting list in the rehabilitation service, secure a new venue for group sessions, enable the service to provide more medical support and education for health care professionals and self-care education for patients.
Mike Barker, Place Lead for Health and Care Integration Oldham says: “This additional funding is great news for the people of Oldham who are suffering with the effects of COVID. The Long COVID Service has been really successful over the last two years and made such a difference to people suffering with Long COVID. It is fantastic to be able to build on what we already have and help even more people.
“It is important for people to remember that if you have had COVID and are still feeling the effects four weeks after you are positive, you should contact your GP.”