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Video shows how Oxfordshire NHS trusts are tackling long COVID


Residents of Oxfordshire have the chance to watch a video showing how the county's two NHS trusts are working together to tackle long COVID.

The eight-minute mini-documentary, 'You are not alone - the long COVID service', was screened as part of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust's Annual Public Meeting on Wednesday 28 September.

Watch the video 'You are not alone - the long COVID service'

The Long COVID service is run jointly by OUH and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

The team includes doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the two trusts to offer both physical and psychological assessments of patients, who are assessed and referred to the right treatment and rehabilitation services.

The mini-documentary, produced by OUH's in-house Oxford Medical Illustration team, features specialists from OUH and Oxford Health, as well as a patient who has benefited from the service.

OUH's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Meghana Pandit, said: "Last year, people across Oxfordshire were able to watch a video about how OUH adapted to deal with the first wave of the pandemic and protect our patients. A year on, we know more about COVID and its longer-term effects.

"This new film is a useful reminder to people in Oxfordshire that the two trusts that serve them have joined forces to create a comprehensive service to tackle long COVID and give people with the condition the longer-term care, support and rehabilitation they need. We have developed a service that is able to manage the full range of symptoms that we are encountering in patients."

In the video, Dave Hockaday, a patient who has been referred by the service, describes the symptoms he experienced: "I woke up unable to breathe; it felt like an anvil was on my chest … I felt like I was being strangled and suffocated."

Dave also experienced sleeplessness, pain in his side and arm, dizziness, fever, nausea and tinnitus. He said the unending symptoms had a 'huge emotional impact'.

One of the clinicians who appears in the film is Respiratory Consultant Emily Fraser, who heads the long COVID service for OUH. She explained how this multidisciplinary collaboration involved hospital and community teams "so that people can start their recovery journey in the clinic and then move on to the community so that they can be … supported the whole way through their recovery."

Emma Tucker, Post COVID Rehabilitation Coordinator for Oxford Health, also appears in the film. She said: "In Oxfordshire we're ensuring that each individual gets a full holistic assessment … a full recognition of all of the medical issues that they may be having, but also addressing what their goals may be in terms of returning to work, returning to exercise and thinking how that's affected them psychologically."

Dave is complimentary about the help he received from the service: "It felt very holistic to me. It felt like each part of the system was talking to the other part.

"Knowing there was a pathway for me was huge, because in those first two months there was nothing - I just sat on my own at home going: 'am I dying?' Once you get a series of steps in place, it helps you to see through a very difficult time, that made a big difference."

He added: "I think what the long COVID service has done is it has empowered me through providing me with knowledge about what the illness is doing to me as an individual."

Pictured: a still from the video.