Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
Why am I receiving this leaflet?
Your GP or hospital physician has referred your case to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) follow up team to try and help support your recovery from COVID-19. We will look carefully at the information that the doctor has provided about you and your symptoms to decide which services might help you feel better.
What are these services?
COVID-19 can affect your whole body and can leave you with lots of different symptoms. There are different things we can offer to help you get better, depending on what symptoms you are feeling. Some patients need the help of a physiotherapist to try to regain their strength and muscle fitness. Other patients may need talking therapies to help them come to terms with the anxiety and distress of being very unwell. The team are also carefully checking to make sure that COVID-19 has left no lasting damage to your lungs.
Does everyone need the help of all of the different COVID-19 clinic specialists?
Not everyone needs all of the services that we offer. Your GP will have carried out some tests before referring you to the clinic. These are often enough to be confident that no further investigations are needed and that we focus completely on helping you feel better from the common symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness due to deconditioning.
What is deconditioning?
Deconditioning describes the loss of muscle strength and fitness that can happen after any significant and prolonged illness. A helpful way to think about this is if an athlete becomes injured and cannot train, they will feel breathless when they return to their normal exercise routine.
The main symptoms of deconditioning are feeling breathless when you move around, and fatigue. It is important to remember that these symptoms will not cause you harm and do not reflect an underlying health problem.
Why has my weight gone up since I have been unwell?
When you become unwell, we tend to move around less. When you are getting better, you will often still feel breathless or easily tired. This can make exercise difficult and feel unpleasant. Despite moving less, your appetite may return to normal. This can cause you to gain weight. As you get back to your normal self, you should be able to lose weight.
What will happen to my symptoms?
Most patients with breathlessness and fatigue following a COVID-19 illness get better over a period of months. Some patients will recover quicker than others will. You may know people that have recovered faster than yourself, but everyone is different and so are recovery times. Some patients take much longer than others to get back to their pre-COVID state.
What about other symptoms such as palpitations, muscle pains or headaches?
You may be suffering from other symptoms such as palpitations (a sensation of a racing heart), muscle aches or headaches. We are not specialists in these symptoms and we may need to refer you to other specialists. We may ask your doctor to refer you to another service after we receive your initial referral to help speed things up.
Where else can I get support?
As with other health issues your GP should be your first point of contact and should be equipped to appropriately manage most of your symptoms. You can also get some guidance on what to expect from the Covid Recovery website below. Alternatively your GP can refer you for support using this website.Your Covid Recovery Website
Respiratory Medicine Department
Telephone: 01642 624615
Opening hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm (Monday to Friday)
Telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999).
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones or via the website.NHS Website
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1322
Date for review: 12 May 2024