£1.1 million of UK government funding has been awarded to support a research project launched to help people with long COVID.
The new project, known as LISTEN, is led by a team from St George’s, University of London and Kingston University, and also involves Cardiff University. As part of the project, researchers will develop personalised rehabilitation programmes for patients with long COVID. The UK government funding was provided through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The project will involve designing and evaluating a self-management intervention for people suffering with long COVID. This is likely to include a book, digital resources, and a new training package for health professionals. Researchers will analyse the clinical effectiveness of the intervention, and how much it helps people cope and recover from long COVID.
A team from the Swansea Centre for Health Economics at the College of Human and Health Sciences will analyse the project’s cost-effectiveness, to assess whether it provides good value for public money.
Long COVID in the UK
Long COVID has been estimated to affect at least 10% of people with COVID-19. The latest estimates suggest nearly one million people are living with the condition in the UK. People with long COVID experience a wide variety of ongoing symptoms, such as tiredness and difficulty with everyday tasks. There are currently no real treatment options for the condition.
Dr Berni Sewell, Senior Lecturer at the Swansea Centre for Health Economics, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus how limited our health and care resources are. It is our responsibility to ensure every new intervention is not only effective but also cost-effective.
“Being involved as health economists in the LISTEN study is an amazing opportunity to support the development of an intervention that improves outcomes and experiences for this fast-growing patient group, whilst also ensuring we sustain our health service and quality of care for the future.”
Professor Fiona Jones from St George’s, University of London and Kingston University, said: “Thousands of people in this country are currently suffering from the effects of long COVID, with many people infected in the first wave still experiencing a significant impact on their daily lives.
“We need people to have access to skilled practitioners that are local to them – which our project intends to deliver.
“Our hope is that wherever you live, if you experience long COVID, you can get access to personalised self-management support, connecting you with a rehabilitation practitioner with deep understanding of the condition.”