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Why I'm sceptical about the NHS's coronavirus recovery service

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On Sunday, NHS England announced plans to create a Covid-19 recovery service for those suffering long-term symptoms of the virus. Patients will receive a face-to-face consultation with a rehabilitation team, a personalised treatment package, and 12 weeks of online support. The service will also include mental health care, such as access to a psychologist via an online hub.

This is a much needed intervention. While the majority of people who contract coronavirus will recover quickly, we are increasingly hearing accounts of “long haulers” – people who may have experienced just a mild version of the illness but have been left with breathing problems, fatigue, or other debilitating symptoms. Research from King’s College London shows as many as one in 20 Covid-19 patients experience long-term symptoms for at least a month, sometimes longer. Maastricht University found nearly 88% of patients surveyed reported persistent intense fatigue, while almost three out of four had continued shortness of breath. Others report having to take several months off work or even being bed bound.

Anyone who has needed long-term care from the NHS, however, will have listened to the announcement with some scepticism. The truth is, for all its strengths, the NHS has long struggled with treating chronic conditions. Before the pandemic, millions of........

© The Guardian