Release date: 10/05/2022

The Malinauskas 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 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.

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.

Clinic staff will work with the patient and their GP on plans to manage their symptoms and work towards improvement. They could be referred to other health professionals for further treatment.


Quotes

Attributable to Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton

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.

This will involve GPs, clinic staff and other health professional in managing the treatment and care of people with Long COVID.

If you believe you have Long COVID please talk to your GP.

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.

Attributable to Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick

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.

These people ultimately seek health support, and we are putting groundwork in place to ensure sustainable services are in place in the community and in our hospitals, to support Long COVID.

Early interventions are in place through SA Health’s GP Liaison team, which identifies and supports GPs in the community to help patients suffering from symptoms four to six weeks after acute illness, to reduce their risk of Long COVID developing.

Symptoms of Long COVID include fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction, which can fluctuate or relapse over time. This ensures those who are vulnerable are on our radar and can transition to appropriate Long COVID care within our hospitals if they continue to suffer symptoms beyond 12 weeks.

Attributable to CALHN Infectious Disease Physician, Dr Renjy Nelson

The RAH’s Long COVID clinic provides an expert triage service to patients to direct them to the most appropriate specialist care in a team of professionals from a broad range of medical fields.

Patients with Long COVID will require support from at least one and often multiple specialists, and our team includes specialists from cardiology, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, renal medicine, haematology, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, general medicine, immunology, rehabilitation medicine, and occupation therapy.

It has been particularly challenging for individuals who contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic due to a lack of research and clinical data, however we now know how to best care for and treat people with the condition.

While some patients will need long term rehabilitation, the Long COVID clinic will care for patients and support them to a get to a stage where their condition can be successfully managed in a community care setting