Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Training Hub is scoping a potential intensive support programme for interested PCNs to fully fund practice development support and training to introduce video group clinics to deliver the Long COVID DES. There is a strong rationale for a group clinic approach to Long COVID.
Group clinics align with the DES specification and will:
- Maximise sustainability and financial benefits: teams will be services and maintaining education and knowledge of the condition and local services. Group clinics are proven to be more efficient than one to one care, making services more sustainable
- Address waiting lists for Long COVID support: the demand for Long COVID in the community is hard to quantify; waiting lists to access primary care based services are likely to grow quickly. Group clinics help pre-empt waiting list, reduce backlogs and increase clinic capacity and reach
- Give patients more clinic time and validate their experience: people with Long COVID are naturally seeking validation of their experience. For clinicians, it is very important to rule out sinister underlying causes of presenting symptoms. A well-designed Long COVID VGC model could uncouple these two elements and provide a more personalised model of care that validates patients’ stories
- Help people fully describe and make sense of symptoms:people gain deeper insight and understanding of the complexity of their symptoms by discussing them in a group setting
- Help clinicians to learn about Long COVID: clinicians report that their understanding expands when they work in Long COVID group clinics; group clinics educate clinicians about Long COVID as much as they educate patients!
- Support self-management: there is a need for a holistic approach to supporting people with Long COVID grounded in self-management once the person has been assessed and sinister causes ruled out. There are limited clinical interventions that clinicians can offer and it is very much over the person to learn to pace, self-manage symptoms and recognise when to seek help if they deteriorate; classic elements of chronic disease management, which group clinics deliver very effectively. Group clinics support self management
- Support additional roles (ARRS) integration:There is recognised need to integrate ARRS within PCNs. This DES is an opportunity to involve social prescribers to help patients think through how to live well with long COVID and develop a social prescriber led follow up model.
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