THE Royal College of GPs is calling for quick and easy access to appropriate diagnostic tools and rehabilitation services in the community for patients facing the long-term health effects of COVID-19.
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP, said: "It’s become clear that some patients - estimated to be around 10 per cent - who are recovering from COVID-19 are suffering from symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle aches and headaches, for a prolonged period of time. These are symptoms that are similar to other post-viral syndromes and might well be related to COVID-19 but can also be signs of other conditions, so GPs will want to consider all possible causes before making a diagnosis, and any appropriate referral."
A symptom tracker app devised by King's College London has shown that 10 per cent of COVID-19 patients are still unwell after three weeks and up to five per cent may have lingering symptoms for months – so called ‘long COVID’.
A BBC Radio 4 investigation recently found that only 10 out 86 NHS CCGs asked were running such "long Covid" services although 19 were in the planning stages.
Professor Marshall said: "It’s vital that as our understanding of the virus improves, and research into how to treat it and its long-term effects emerges, that guidelines for GPs are rapidly developed so that we can treat and manage COVID-19 in the most appropriate way for patients. GPs also need quick and easy access to appropriate diagnostic tools and rehabilitation services in the community for our patients who have had COVID-19."