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Long Covid Care in Richmond has a long way to go says Health Watchdog

Healthwatch Richmond, an independent health and social care organisation, surveyed 93 people suffering from long Covid in the borough. 

Of those who did access support, some were told they could face an 18-month wait for further care.

Other respondents told Healthwatch they felt that no one believed them when they tried to discuss their symptoms.  

The findings indicate that long Covid has had a significant impact on the physical and mental health of sufferers.

Some respondents said that they felt unable to work, socialise or take care of their children.

They reported feeling uncertain, isolated, and being unable to appreciate things that used to give them joy: “You feel alone and that there is no help.

“Even a diagnosis would mean that you felt like there was a reason for the way you were feeling.”  

One of the respondents lost their job, another became so ill, they had to stop caring for their wife: “I can’t even go to the bathroom on my own, it’s that bad.

“I used to care for my wife and do everything for her. 

“Now I can’t and she’s in a care home that I can hardly visit.

“I don’t think she knows me anymore.”  

The report recommended comprehensive long Covid screening and the creation of a peer-led support group, aided by a clinician.

It also called for more resources for self-help and a coordinated approach to care.  

Mike Derry, chief officer of Healthwatch Richmond said: “We’re very grateful to the people who shared their experiences.

“Our colleagues at the NHS, the Council and in the voluntary sector have been incredibly receptive to the findings and we anticipate that care for people with this new condition will improve as a result.” 

Dr. Annette Pautz and Denise Madden, welcomed the report on behalf of the Kingston and Richmond Post Covid Steering Group and confirmed that they would use it to inform ongoing development of long Covid services in the area.  

Ruils, a Teddington-based charity which supports disabled children and adults and people with long term health & mental health conditions, also welcomed the findings and said that it would look into working with partners to develop tailored activities and projects including long Covid walk and talk groups and breathlessness workshops.  

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