HELP is on the way for patients suffering from ‘long Covid’ thanks to new specialist sites being set up by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

‘Long Covid’ refers to a cluster of symptoms experienced by people who have contracted coronavirus over an extended period, such as brain fog, anxiety, depression, breathlessness, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms.

Now, new sites to deal with this are set to be operational in Lancashire by January.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The NHS is taking practical action to help patients suffering ongoing health issues as a result of coronavirus.

“Bringing expert clinicians together in these clinics will deliver an integrated approach to support patients access vital rehabilitation, as well as helping develop a greater understanding of long Covid and its debilitating symptoms.”

The Lancashire sites will be set up alongside centres in the East Midlands, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, joining those already operational across the UK from December onwards.

In total there will be more than 60 such clinics around the country, which will take referrals from GPs.

The NHS has also launched a long covid taskforce, with patients, charities, researchers and clinicians involved, to help lead the NHS response to long covid, produce information and support materials for patients and healthcare professionals, and develop a wider understanding of the condition.

Dr Graham Burns, clinical lead at the long Covid centre at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, said: “In the first wave of the pandemic many people did not recover as quickly as they’d expected.

“We had no idea what long Covid was - the world had never seen Covid-19 before.

“We set up the clinic in Newcastle to support patients, but it has also been invaluable in helping us understand what long Covid is.

He added: “I’m delighted that patients now have places to turn to across the country turn and on a national scale doctors will be able to learn from our collective experience and offer tailored support to patients.”

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust have not yet confirmed the exact location of the clinics.