Long Covid clinical guideline under development

A GUIDELINE on managing the persistent effects of Covid-19 (long Covid) on patients is being developed by NICE and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), working jointly with the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

The guideline will address, among other things, a formal definition of the disease, how to identify on-going symptoms and a definition of best practice investigation and treatment options to support the management of the condition across diverse communities.

It is estimated there could be as many as 60,000 people in the UK who have long Covid, characterised by on-going shortness of breath, fatigue, heart, lung, kidney, neurological and musculoskeletal problems. Long-Covid patients report persistent symptoms regardless of how ill they were initially or whether they were hospitalised.

It is expected that the guideline will be published by the end of the year.

Roberta James, Programme Lead for SIGN, said: "National guidance in this emerging field will help to align services with the needs of people who may be at risk of receiving inconsistent care. The guideline will support health and care services with recommendations on monitoring, testing, treatment options and the provision of advice and support for those who are experiencing these long-term effects."

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP, said: "Treating or managing any new virus or condition is a challenge for healthcare professionals whose priority is always trying to deliver the best possible care for their patients. The College is delighted to be working with both NICE and SIGN to develop this guideline. It aims to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to ensure all patients with long-term effects of Covid-19, including those diagnosed in the community irrespective of whether they received a positive test or not, can be cared for in the best possible way, based on the latest evidence."