New Healthwatch report into Long Covid in North Central London

The five Healthwatch organisations across North Central London (Healthwatch Barnet, Healthwatch Camden, Healthwatch Enfield, Healthwatch Haringey, and Healthwatch Islington) have together produced a major report into Long COVID.
Woman on a sofa looking tired and distressed

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people living with Long COVID now stands at its highest level since data began to be collected, with as many as 1.7mn people, or 2.7 per cent of the UK population reporting symptoms.

Though there is still lots to learn about Long COVID, its damaging impact on people’s health and their quality of life is clear.

The five Healthwatch organisations across North Central London (Healthwatch Barnet, Healthwatch Camden, Healthwatch Enfield, Healthwatch Haringey, and Healthwatch Islington) together investigated local people’s experiences of Long COVID. The aim was to identify any gaps in the help they are being offered. The information gathered can now be used to support the development of services and systems to help local people manage their symptoms.

We were able to speak to over three hundred people, via online surveys, 1-2-1 interviews and community focus groups. They described the different ways Long COVID has affected them, physically, mentally and socially.

This has had a knock-on effect on my mental health. Not being able to work, take care of my household or family is very frustrating and relying on others is demeaning.
— Barnet Resident

They told us too about their experiences of accessing and using the healthcare system.

Initially, there was limited support from the GP practice. I ‘saw’ three different doctors until one understood what I was experiencing.
— Camden resident

Our report identifies the challenges faced by Long COVID patients in North Central London, starting with diagnosis, and covering treatment and long-term support.

Additional resources need to be put into support groups and services, as it appears very little is available even after a GP referral
— Barnet resident

The data gathered by our five NCL Healthwatch organisations indicates that there are many lessons to be learned. As a result, we have outlined more than a dozen recommendations, covering primary care, improvements to the Long COVID pathway, local public health, and employers’ responsibilities to patients.

Dr Katie Coleman, Clinical Lead for Primary Care Network Development, says, “We would like to thank our Healthwatch colleagues for their work to produce such a comprehensive picture of the experience of people living with Long Covid in NCL. This report and its recommendations will help us to better understand what our residents need from us, and how we can improve access to services, experience of care, and clinical outcomes for everyone.”

Read the North Central London Healthwatch Long COVID Report

You can read all our recommendations in the report summary, and we are pleased to publish our report in full below.

New! We have added two case studies to our website. Thank you to Lucy and Joshna for sharing their experiences.

Read Lucy and Joshna's stories

North Central London Healthwatch Long COVID Report Summary

Read our report in full

North Central London Healthwatch Long COVID Report in full

Healthwatch Long COVID report Easy Read version

Download our Easy Read version of the report.

Plus, if you have Long COVID, below you will also find resources for download to help with your physical and mental health.

Healthwatch Long COVID Easy Read version
Resources to help those with Long COVID

If you have any questions or comments you would like to share, please get in touch by email.

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