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Don’t suffer in silence with Long Covid, there is a local service there to help you

People who are experiencing a variety of persistent symptoms are being advised to check whether they have Long Covid. 

Covid is still circulating within the community, and while most people get better reasonably quickly, for others it can last much longer and be seriously debilitating. 

There can be many symptoms of Long Covid, but the four most common are: 

  • breathlessness 

  • extreme fatigue 

  • brain fog – finding it hard to concentrate and remember what you are doing 

  • anxiety and depression 

Anyone who has any of the above or other unexplained symptoms for four weeks or more after having had Covid should ask their GP for a review and whether they are suitable for a referral to the Long Covid Service. 

In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the service is run by Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT). 

Trish Denison, Occupational Therapist and Clinical Lead for the service said: “Because Long Covid is a new condition, we do not know everything about it yet. Everyone is affected differently although there are the four main symptoms.” 

The Long Covid Service is mainly run remotely and brings together clinical specialists including rehabilitation physiotherapists, occupational therapists, GPs, care coordinators and psychology support. 

Trish said: “If your GP refers you to us, your initial consultation will be by telephone or video and a clinician will talk to you and listen to the problems you are experiencing. They will then produce an action plan that will be sent to you and your GP.” 

This could recommend diagnostic tests such as blood tests. People could also be referred to other services. For instance, someone suffering from breathlessness could be referred to respiratory services and require a chest X-ray. 

The service also runs face-to-face and online Fatigue Anxiety and Breathlessness (FAB) workshops where people can discuss their issues with other people with the condition. 

One patient who has used the service is Diana Hughes. 

Diana said: “I returned to work after having Covid and realised I just couldn’t function how I did previously, physically or mentally – I couldn’t get words out, I couldn’t remember how to do things and was really exhausted.” 

Diana received a number of referrals and attended the FAB workshops. 

She said: “Having peer contact with other people with Long Covid was brilliant and made me feel so much better. Care co-ordinators have also kept in touch with me with phone calls and emails.” 

“Anybody who is suffering needs to speak to their GP and ask if it is possible to be referred to the Long Covid Service. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am without them.” 

You can listen to a podcast featuring Trish Denson talking about the service (seven minutes) and see a video featuring Diana Hughes (two minutes). 

You can also find out more about the Long Covid Service on the MPFT website.


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