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‘Investing in services and a dedicated support programme for those recovering from the long term effects of COVID-19 is crucial as we begin the recovery from the pandemic’, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has vowed after meeting with clinicians and patients

First published:
15 June 2021
Last updated:

A £5million package of support – as part of a new patients pathway programme dubbed Adferiad (Recovery) has been announced by the Health Minister to expand the provision of diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and care for those suffering from the long term effects of COVID-19, including long COVID in Wales.

This will be a made in Wales approach – responding to the particular needs of each individual and giving care as close to home as possible.

Adferiad (Recovery) is designed to stand by those who suffer from long COVID and will continue to evolve and develop as we learn more about the long term effects of those recovering from COVID-19.

The Adferiad programme, which will be launched later this week to coincide with new guidelines surrounding the treatment of the long term effects of those recovering from COVID-19, will be reviewed every six months and underlines the fact the Welsh Government and NHS Wales recognise long COVID as a serious and potentially debilitating condition.

The aim of the approach in Wales is to minimise the number of referral points for people, providing clear sign posts for people to support themselves where possible or ensuring that they are given access to specialised services where necessary following a consultation with their GP.

Targeting funding at pathways where patients can get personalised treatment for their needs, as well as ensuring care is provided as close to home as possible, are the key aims of the Welsh Government’s rehabilitation framework for COVID recovery.

The package of funding and Adferiad programme will further develop primary and community services to support individuals who have specific needs as a result of the impacts of the pandemic.

Professor Peter Saul, Joint Chair of RCGP Cymru Wales said:

I welcome the Minister’s announcement of additional resources to support diagnosis and management of patients with long COVID. The condition has required us all to learn and adapt quickly to support our patients.

Primary care is at the forefront of long COVID care and this announcement will provide confidence that we will have the infrastructure, shared knowledge and data for GPs and their teams across Wales to respond to patients’ needs.

The money will go towards:

  • Helping healthcare workers and Allied Health Professionals develop infrastructure to flexibly deliver services to help people recover from COVID-19, long COVID and those more widely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Provide high quality, evidence based training and digital resources to assist in diagnosing, investigating and treating long COVID and supporting people in their treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Investing  in digital tools which will provide data about service demand and capacity modelling and ensure the NHS helps people make the right treatment decisions for their care and treatment.

It comes after the Health Minister Eluned Morgan met with patients and clinicians from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board over the last week to learn about how they are tackling long COVID.

On Thursday (10 June) the Minister met patients who have been recovering from long COVID since the start of the pandemic during a virtual meeting, to learn about their experiences of care and how they have been supported through it.

Yesterday (14 June) the Minister visited the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales to meet clinicians who have been delivering COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery services, to learn about how they have been treating patients and the challenges they have faced dealing with the long term effects following a new virus.

Later this week the All Wales guideline for the management of long COVID will be launched, along with the Adferiad (Recovery) support programme. This important guidance for health professionals will offers the latest information for managing long COVID across NHS Wales, and is supported by a package of comprehensive education and resources.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

It has been fascinating to learn about how we have been tackling the long term effects of COVID, including long COVID and the wider impacts of the pandemic in Wales, both from healthcare workers on the front line and those who have experienced this awful virus themselves.

In Wales we are committed to personalised treatment and rehabilitation pathways to meet people’s needs, as we believe this is the most effective way to care for those experiencing the effects of long COVID.

We believe our Adferiad (Recovery) programme will be key in ensuring we are leading the way in patient care.

By investing in the staff, infrastructure, training and tools to deliver these services, we are showing our commitment to improving the diagnosis, treatment and care of those with long COVID.