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NICHS welcomes funding for new Covid services

18 Jun 2021

Local health charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke has welcomed the Health Minister Robin Swann’s announcement of new services for the treatment and assessment of post-Covid-19 syndrome, also known as ‘long Covid’.

“For almost a year now, NICHS, in the absence of any other resource, has delivered a Covid service to meet the needs of people living with Long Covid. We had dozens of referrals and were delighted to offer information and support to people in these difficult times. We hope that following this announcement we can continue to collaborate with the health service as part of our role in the respiratory pathway, supporting patients when they are discharged from statutory services.

Said Catherine Murnin, Head of Care Services

“We will build on the success of our existing Breathing Better respiratory and Taking Control self-management programmes as well as our recent experience of supporting people who are living with Long Covid. For years we have enabled many people to better self-manage their respiratory problems and in doing so improved health outcomes.”

“We have a close working relationship with the health professionals across Health and Social Care and we know that referring people into NICHS services can free up capacity for staff in our Health Trusts to assist other patients.”

Breathing Better is entirely funded by NICHS at present, however, the charity is keen to explore if part of the funding announced by the Minister might be used to help cover the costs of continuing and developing this vital community service provided. NICHS noted the Office of National Statistics has suggested that as many as 21,000 people are experiencing long Covid symptoms. So, there could be considerable demand for the new health service and for our Long Covid support and recovery service.