New special clinics to help long covid sufferers

People suffering from any long-term effects of COVID-19 are being helped by special new clinics.

The long covid clinic team in lung health at North Tees.The long covid appointments are helping patients with a range of conditions linked to the virus.

These include fatigue, breathlessness, anxiety, depression and other debilitating symptoms.

The centre is led by respiratory consultant Kevin Conroy from lung health at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Dr Conroy said: “We are delighted to have this clinic here in Teesside.

“We are able to offer a comprehensive assessment and support for patients with common symptoms like breathlessness and fatigue, many of whom benefit from the reassurance our service can provide. Some patients have other symptoms requiring different specialist services which we are able to help direct them to.

“We now know so much more about this virus, we continue to learn more every day and are able to do more and more to help.”

Vivien Saunders, lead physiotherapist in the service, said: “Patients can either be referred by their GP or another health professional using an established pathway.

“We can assess people and see if they have any underlying symptoms such as breathlessness and chest issues. This is an illness which is affecting many people for longer periods – we are doing our best to respond to that need.

“The idea is to get patients to the right service at the right time.”

Vicky Taylor, a mental health advanced nurse practitioner from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust who supports the service, said: “As well as the physical impact that this virus has had, there has also been an impact on people’s mental health. We aim to provide a holistic assessment.

“We can identify any changes in mood, anxiety and trauma from patients, as well as other issues including increased alcohol and substance misuse.

“For some patients, this could include the impact of being in hospital, changes due to a deterioration in someone’s physical health or experiencing isolation.

“We can offer psychological support and signpost or refer patients to other experts when appropriate.”

Caption: Left to right – Physiotherapist Vivien Saunders, respiratory doctor Kevin Conroy and mental health nurse practitioner Vicky Taylor.

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