Tens of thousands of people who are suffering long-term effects of coronavirus are set to benefit from an on-demand recovery service accessible from home.
The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus, but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.
Nurses and physiotherapists will be on hand to reply to patients’ needs either online or over the phone as part of the scheme.
Service users will also be able to access online peer-support; exercise tutorials that they can do from home to help them gain muscle strength and lung function; and mental health support, which may include a psychologist within the online hub or referral into NHS mental health services.
Launching the service, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens (pictured), hailed it as a “great example” of the way the health services is increasingly harnessing technology and innovation to enhance the face-to-face care that staff can provide in a safe and convenient way.
Sir Simon said: “COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge in the NHS’s history, and the fact that we have come through the first peak without services being overwhelmed and being able to give expert care to everyone who needed it, is testament all our frontline and support staff.
“Now, as we celebrate the birthday of the NHS and look ahead to the next phase of our response, while in-person care will continue to be vital, the health service is embracing the best that new technology can offer us to meet the significant level of new and ongoing need.
“Rolling out Your COVID Recovery, alongside expanding and strengthening community health and care services, is another example of how the NHS must bring the old and the new together to create better and more convenient services for patients.”
The first phase of the service will launch later this month, providing the latest advice on recovering from the virus, which will be available to all and continually improved and added to.
The second phase, in which people who need it will be able to access personalised support packages, is in development by experts based in Leicester and will be made available later in the summer.
In order to access this part of the site, patients will first attend a face-to-face assessment, which may include a walking test, to help personalise care and ensure people get the type of support and rehabilitation specific to their need, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
For those who need ongoing care, they will be given a log-in to the new online site, which will be accessible from any web-enabled phone, tablet, television or computer.