Suffolk and North East Essex Long COVID Service
Post COVID-19 Syndrome is also called long COVID. It describes the signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19, which continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
The condition usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within your body.
The severity of your illness after catching COVID-19 does not indicate whether you will go on to develop long COVID. In other words, you may have a mild dose of COVID-19 and then develop long COVID. Or, you may have been severely ill with COVID-19 and then suffer no longer term after-effects.
Your GP can refer you if you have had symptoms for over 12 weeks, thought to be COVID-related. You do not have to have had a positive COVID test.
When your GP makes the referral there will be some screening questions for you to answer. You will also need to have an oxygen saturation reading, a chest x-ray and a blood test.
Alongside your referral, investigations will be taking place into your individual symptoms.
Most assessments happen by telephone but face to face appointments are also possible.
We currently have clinics in West Suffolk, Ipswich, and Colchester.
The service includes professionals such as physiotherapists, breathing therapists and mental health specialists. You will be seen by the team that is best suited to treating you.
Children and young people up to 17 years old
Children and young people will be supported by their GP, along with existing services and the local children and young persons’ team. These local teams will be supported by a specialist team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Referrals for children and young people will follow the same route as adults, through to the Suffolk and North East Essex long Covid Service. The GP will be aware of this pathway.
The Living With Covid Recovery app is available on your smartphone or a tablet and is designed to help you or someone you care for to recover from the effects of what is called long COVID.
You should have been given access to the app through a doctor, physiotherapist or other NHS health professional.
Long COVID is a term used to describe the illness some people can get after COVID-19.
People who are still unwell 12 weeks after the initial infection are said to have long COVID.
People with long COVID may have many different symptoms. These include:
- Feeling very tired (fatigue)
- Low mood
- Aches and pains
- Loss of/poor appetite
- Brain fog (making it difficult to think clearly or remember things)
Most people find that their symptoms vary from day to day, making it hard to plan or to see any improvement.
The good news is there are tried and tested ways to reduce these symptoms and support you while your body heals.
Very often these symptoms are linked, so for example if you are tired and achy you may not feel able to exercise. This affects your appetite, sleep and mood, making you feel even worse.
The Living With Covid Recovery app works by helping you through some simple exercises and health tips to break the links between these symptoms, bit-by-bit.
Like many things in the world when you break a problem down into smaller parts it’s easier to deal with them. The app works a bit like this.
Your physiotherapist, doctor or other healthcare professional will work with you to understand how your symptoms are affecting you, and what treatments will be best to help you get better.
They will support you to use the app which provides the treatments your physio thinks will be best for you. They will check in with you regularly, see how you are getting on, and adapt your treatment as your symptoms change.
You can send them messages through the app, letting them know how you are getting on, or if you have any questions.
Do remember though, that this message service is not for use in a health emergency, as your physio may not see any messages you send for several days.
The main aim of the Living With Covid Recovery app is to help you get better and back on your feet – the app also gives you the power to set your own goals on what you want to achieve.
How do I get to use the app?
There are a number of stages in the process. Firstly, you are likely to have been referred to the long COVID Recovery Programme by a doctor in hospital or your GP.
You will then be seen or spoken to by another doctor who will check that your symptoms are due to long COVID. They will make sure it is safe for you to use the app and that you will benefit from this treatment.
Then you are likely to speak to or meet the NHS person looking after your recovery using the app. This is often a physiotherapist or other form of therapist who specialises in rehabilitation.
They will ask questions and you may have to work through some questionnaires to find the right support for your symptoms.
They will then set some goals with you and find out how they can help. They will then set you up with the Living With Covid Recovery app and run through how to use it.
Your physiotherapist or rehabilitation therapist will work with you through your recovery, so you won’t be on your own.
How do I use it?
You will be given help in using the app once you have downloaded it. Usually, you will be given a code or password – normally your email – to get access to it.
Once you have the app you will be given a run through on how it works. Finding the right treatments for your symptoms, keeping a diary of how you feel, setting your own goals and how to message your NHS clinician.
The app is designed to be simple and easy to use. You physiotherapist will be keeping an eye on your health, checking in with you all the way through your recovery – so you won’t be on your own.
What does it look like?
The images below show some of the features on the app – you can see that it has been organised to make it easy to get to the features you need.
How do I know it works?
The support on the Living With Covid Recovery app has been used by the NHS to treat symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, aches and pains, for many years and they are tried and tested.
Research also shows that it works. You will be able to see for yourself on the app how far you have come by recording updates in your My Health area of the app. Your NHS clinician will be working with you too, so you can raise any points and tailor your goals with them.
Are you collecting information about my health?
Yes, the My Health area has information on your medication, progress and other things your NHS clinician will need to know.
This information is shared with certain people in the NHS. Researchers use the data (with your personal details removed) to measure the health of the public more generally and to check how people with long COVID are recovering.
What if I don’t have a smart phone or tablet?
This particular treatment and support is only available through the app, although there are other websites like the NHS one which can help give advice on symptoms and support.
In some cases, a friend or relative has helped by sharing a smart phone or tablet, and working with people to use the Living With Covid Recovery app.
Why is it only in English?
At the moment the Living With Covid Recovery app is only available in English, but there have been people who have used it with a relative or friend who can help with translation.
Some of my symptoms aren’t on the app
The support for symptoms on the Living With Covid Recovery app is always being updated and added.
You can feedback if you would like something added, and NHS clinicians that use the app are giving feedback to.
Who made the COVID Recovery app?
The Living With Covid Recovery app has been developed by a company called Living With Limited, which specialise in remote condition management.
The Founder had experienced living with a long-term health condition and wanted to find better ways of supporting people using a smart phone or tablet.
The company has been working with University College London, NHS Trusts in London and the University of Southampton and Exeter University.
Money to carry out research on the app has come from the Department of Health and Social Care through something called the National Institute for Health Research.
Expertise and experience from patients, doctors, NHS staff and Professors at the universities has been used to create and test the app.
The COVID Recovery app is being used more widely in England now as it has proven successful in trials in London.
Thank you to all the patients, NHS staff and the team working hard to support people with long COVID.
- Email email@example.com. Please state “Colchester Hospital” in the subject line of the email
- Call us using our Freephone number 0800 783 7328
- Call us on 01206 742 683 / 01206 746 448
If your call is urgent and you require assistance outside of our office hours, please dial 01206 747 474 and ask to speak to the site matron.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state “Ipswich Hospital” in the subject line of the email
- Call us using our Freephone number 0800 328 7624
- Call us on 01473 704 781
If your call is urgent and you need assistance outside of our office hours, please dial 01473 712 233 and ask to speak to the site matron.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (S617)
What is our Employment Support?
Our employment advisors are available to complement your support and recovery within the Wellbeing Service. They are here to give you an opportunity to seek advice, support and motivation around employment.
Call us on: 0300 123 1503 or visit
At a glance
Employment can be an important part of our lives as it can supply us with rewarding feelings and a positive sense of purpose.
Therefore, if somebody is facing barriers around employment it is understandable that this may affect their wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Service wants to offer everybody a chance to gain support and overcome the barriers they may have regarding employment.
Employment doesn’t need to just be about earning. The right employment can enable us to connect with and give to others, be active, take notice of the world around us, and keep learning.
To learn more about employment support and how this could help, keep reading!
How does Employment Support help?
Many people come to Wellbeing with low mood, depression, anxiety or stress, and a lot of the time these feelings can be being caused directly or indirectly by work.
By having advisors available to help, the intention is to help you find and action practical solutions to complement your therapy.
When we are not feeling well, these kind of problems can feel especially hard to work through. Previously, such assistance has not necessarily been available through mental health care, but now we have evidence and studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of this additional service.
Working closely with someone who can offer you empathy, lived-experience, practical knowledge, impartiality, honesty and positivity can be invaluable when it comes to shaping your recovery.
What is Employment Support?
Our Employment Advisors are here to support anybody who is currently referred into the Wellbeing service by providing advice, motivation and guidance about the barriers they may be facing in relation to work.
This can assist recovery by providing additional support specifically around employment; this can be accessed before or during support received from therapy over six one to one sessions for a period of 12 weeks.
An Employment Advisor is there to support you to reach your own personal goals around finding, returning to or remaining in employment.
How do I access Employment Support within Wellbeing?
Clients who are placed on a treatment plan and wish to pursue Employment Support will be offered an appointment with an EA within two weeks, usually initially over the phone, and then subsequently at a community location or hub.
For people wanting to find work we can:
- support them to be ‘job ready’ and / or get closer to the labour market
- provide careers / volunteering information and advice
- offer employability services
- liaise with Jobcentre plus
- provide signposting for support with benefits
- work with employers to break down barriers.
For people wanting to remain in work, we can:
- support them and liaise with their employer in relation to disciplinary / capability
- mediate relationship difficulties / bullying, etc. while in work
- support them through redundancy / change
- provide careers information, advice and coaching
For people wanting to return to work, we can:
- support them and negotiate with employers to enable them to:
- return to work after a period of ill health e.g. making adjustments, phased return
- return to work after other difficulties e.g. bullying, conflict
- link employers to workplace mental health strategies, information and training.
Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk are
partnerships of NHS and voluntary organisations working
together to offer a wide range of support for low mood,
anxiety and depression.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust:
- Shaw Trust
- Suffolk Family Carers
- Norfolk and Waveney Mind
We work together to deliver a range of support interventions for people of all ages with low mood, anxiety and depression. For more information about who we are see:
Access a range of professionally developed support videos for those who have been affected by the lockdowns and the impact of COVID-19 are available for you to watch.