The background to the study is an estimated 970,000 people living in private households in the UK (1.5% of the population) who are experiencing self-reported “long COVID” at 1 August 2021 (Office for National Statistics, 2nd September 2021).
Of people with self-reported long COVID, 84% first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 at least 12 weeks previously, and 40% first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 at least one year previously (ONS, 2021).
This indicates the possibility that many people are experiencing a long-term debilitating illness where treatments are still emerging.
Healthwatch England have asked local Healthwatch to gather data on your experiences to help shape and develop services in this new clinical area. We already know that reported symptoms vary widely, and that access to support is not always straightforward (Healthwatch Richmond, 2021). We also know that symptoms can be very protracted and adversely affect day-to-day activities. We will be designing a survey to ask for your experiences, and interviewing some people who are experiencing long COVID to hear in more depth about the affect this has had. We will also be interviewing local GP’s about their experience of providing support to patients affected.
Please look out for our survey and request for interviews.