11 May 2022
The State Government is opening clinics at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre to provide treatment, care and support to people with Long COVID.
The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will also provide a specialist service for children with Long COVID symptoms through its outpatients clinics.
The Government says it is preparing for Long COVID cases in the wake of the Omicron wave, and a system-wide approach is needed to ensure the health service can respond effectively.
Evidence overseas and interstate shows that a proportion of people who contract the virus will suffer longer lasting effects, more than 12 weeks after acute illness, and these people will require health care and support.
It says importantly, being fully vaccinated appears to show a decrease in the chance of experiencing Long COVID.
The clinics will be staffed by experienced doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Patients will be referred to the clinics by their GP where they will be reviewed.
“We are making sure that we are prepared for Long COVID cases and a system-wide approach is needed to ensure the health service can respond effectively,’’ Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton said.
“This will involve GPs, clinic staff and other health professional in managing the treatment and care of people with Long COVID.’’
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said Long COVID sufferers frequently have problems with anxiety, depression, mobility, pain and discomfort, which impair their ability to function normally pre-COVID and they have trouble performing activities of daily living such as working and caring for family.
She said symptoms of Long COVID include fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction, which can fluctuate or relapse over time.
“If you believe you have Long COVID please talk to your GP,’’ Mr Picton said.
“Importantly, we can all do something to reduce our chances of getting Long COVID. If you are fully vaccinated and contract COVID it appears you have less of a chance of having Long COVID.
“The message is again to South Australians, please get fully vaccinated against COVID.’’