The impact of the new Covid variant Omicron is being monitored by a new service at Addenbrooke’s Hospital helping with the treatment of children in the region with long Covid.
The service, at the hospital’s specialist Child Development Centre, opened this month following a Government announcement in June that £100m would be provided for 15 new hubs across the country.
GPs, community nurses, and local paediatricians will be able to access new online resources outlining the investigations needed to make a definitive long Covid diagnosis, and the regional and hospital resources that are in place to help young people and their families.
They will be able to refer the most acute cases to Addenbrooke’s where they will be seen by a multidisciplinary team experienced in the care of patients with very prolonged or severe effects following Covid infection.
The service will also be watching to see if any new Covid variants effect the younger generation and what additional support may be needed.
CUH paediatric rheumatologist, Dr Kate Armon, said:
I think it is still too early to know the effect of omicron. Treating children and young people with long Covid is a new and emerging speciality and we are constantly learning moreDr Kate Armon
“Be assured our team is linking with the other new hubs around the country to share experiences and learning, so we can provide the best care and advice based on current knowledge and guidelines.”
In line with the Trust’s ethos for its new children’s hospital, the new service will treat “the whole child” - the medical, mental, and social impact of long Covid on their lives.
Team members include occupational therapists, physical therapists and psychologists, who rub shoulders with many other paediatricians and experts in child care. They will focus on pain, chronic fatigue, mood, anxiety, motivation, and ways to re-access education and social groups.
As yet it is unknown how many children and young people the service is likely to help a year, or the impact of new variants, but what is known is that there is still no definitive cure for long Covid.
While the majority of children and young people are not severely affected by Covid, 7.4 per cent aged two-11, and 8.2 per cent of those aged 12-16, report continued symptoms. .
Dr Armon added: “Further to the Government announcement in June, we are pleased to let doctors, community nurses, local paediatricians and of course their patients and families know that we now have a team able to support them.
Sadly, long Covid can have a profound impact on young patients, their ability to function, access education and social contact, as well as on their wider family and friends - and we are here to helpDr Kate Armon