‘Ray of hope’ for long Covid sufferers in Richmond

A Richmond clinic has urged people to seek help as it emerges that 40% of long Covid sufferers may have battled symptoms for more than a year.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics suggests that around 3000 people in the borough may be suffering from long Covid symptoms including severe fatigue, breathlessness, headaches, muscle aches, brain fog and heart rate changes.

Richmond’s long Covid clinic, set up by NHS Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare in October 2021, cleared its 70-patient-long waiting list just before Christmas and spoke to SWL about its treatment programme.

Man and Woman wearing face masks bump elbows in greeting
Richmond’s long Covid clinic provides patients with a ‘safe space’ to talk

Róisín Hyde, clinical lead and occupational therapist said: “People have been alone for so long, so we give them time, space and understanding.

“People get help with managing their symptoms, learning how to cope when the brain isn’t processing properly, getting the right amount of rest, and increasing chances of recovery.”

Hyde told SWL that the treatment is open ended, as some patients can experience debilitating relapses, with symptoms that are more severe than before.

Hyde added: “That can be horribly depressing for them. They are so relieved to be able to share their experiences with us and each other.”

One user said: “We are all traumatised from the non-believers and because we were left alone for so long, so these Fridays are always rays of hope for me that something is finally changing for us.”

Hyde added: “Many people were very surprised when we called them, they did not know that they were on a waiting list.

“They had low expectations and they were pleasantly surprised by the level of support we provide.

“We allot 90 minutes each for a first consultation, not everyone needs that long, but people are just so pleased to be able to talk.”

There are 55 long Covid patients in the clinic’s current cohort and treatment is delivered one-to-one or in groups.

Referrals must be made by a GP or another health professional from a Post Covid Assessment Service, so that other conditions can be ruled out. More information on the service is available here.

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