Publish date: 23 August 2022

As we all learn to live with COVID, many residents across Tameside and Glossop are battling with the effects of what the initial infection leaves behind. Here at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust we are innovating and adapting our services to care for these patients.

A new long COVID clinic has been set up at the Trust which focusses on wrap around support delivered by the Trust’s therapy teams.  The new clinic is patient driven depending on their symptoms and requirements.

How long it takes to recover from COVID is different for everybody. Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.  The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID. People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.

Common long COVID symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

Jack Mason, Clinical Pathway Lead, has already seen 10 patients in the new clinic, he explains, “the patients we have seen so far want support and help to get back to work and their normal lives.  Initially we speak to the patient on the phone and signpost them to the right service for them depending on their symptoms, the patient is then assessed by the specialised therapy team.  Our new clinic provides access to a number of different specialities including chronic fatigue, musculoskeletal, cardiac rehabilitation and mental health support.”

Clinics have now been established across the country for patients suffering from long COVID and the Trust has been no different in offering a long COVID service since 2020. The new clinic, sits as part of the established service designed to help patients get the help they require in the longer term.

Dr Al Butt, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine (Clinical COVID Consultant), who has played a key role in setting up the long COVID service explains: “The concept of long COVID is real and it is something that we are still learning about. As we come out of the pandemic we will learn more; however, the effects people feel, well after they’re no longer acutely unwell with COVID, is something we are taking seriously in Tameside and Glossop and that is why we have set up this clinic.”

Patients can be referred into the new long COVID clinic via the Trust’s long COVID Service or by their GP.