Hundreds of patients suffering with long COVID-19 are receiving vital support so that they can get the right care to manage their symptoms thanks to staff at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).
Staff at ESNEFT’s Care Coordination Centre (CCC) act as a single point of contact for patients who have been referred to the Suffolk and North East Essex Long COVID-19 Assessment Service (SNELCAS) for coronavirus symptoms which have continued for more than 12 weeks.
After arranging an initial phone assessment, the dedicated team of CCC staff will go onto manage onward referrals so that the patient can receive any additional support they may need to manage symptoms such as pain, fatigue and a persistent high temperature. This involves working closely with a wide variety of ESNEFT’s teams, such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and dietetics, as well as those provided by partner organisations such as Wellbeing Suffolk and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
The team has received 278 referrals for assessment since the service launched in December and has gone onto make 365 onward referrals, which can be to more than one other service for some patients.
These patients are then tracked to make sure they receive the care they need, while the team also arrange follow ups at 12 and 26 weeks to check whether they can be discharged.
Nicky Bullard, CCC service manager, said: “Long COVID-19 can have a huge impact on people and can affect them in lots of different ways, which means they may need ongoing support from more than one service. Our team makes that process easier by offering easy access to a single, integrated package of care.
“The service has been very well received by patients since it launched as we are able to put everything in place which they may need and track them through their recovery, in turn making sure they don’t fall through any gaps between services.
“SNELCAS is a great example of different organisations working together seamlessly to make sure our patients receive the right specialist support at the right time.”
Lee Taylor, head of strategy for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex CCGs, which developed the service, said: “This model has been developed thanks to the combined input of those in primary and secondary care, our allied health professionals, IT and digital specialists and our partners in the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance and the east and west Suffolk alliances.”
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