Extra funding announced for innovative long-Covid treatment programme
A further £5m of Welsh Government funding is being made available to a service helping people living with the long-term effects of COVID-19.
The extra support follows a six-month review of the innovative Adferiad (Recovery) programme, which has established rehabilitation services based on a community-led approach.
Among these is an online breathing and singing programme developed with the Welsh National Opera.
The Wellness with Welsh National Opera long-COVID programme accepts referrals from health boards and the pilot is currently being delivered in partnership between WNO and Betsi Cadwaladr, Cardiff and Vale, and Cwm Taf Morgannwg university health boards – with funding from the Arts Council of Wales’ Arts, Health and Wellbeing Lottery Fund.
Welsh National Opera’s director of programmes and engagement Emma Flatley said: “The response to the programme has been amazing and we expect the formal evaluation results, which are due shortly, to support this.
“The two pilot programmes have shown overwhelmingly positive results in terms of people’s health and breathing and also improvements for the participants psychologically.
“There are many life-affirming stories and testimonials from the people who’ve taken part. People have also avoided urgent trips to hospital by using the techniques and advice given.
“The further funding available to health boards for rehabilitation services will enable programmes such as ours to continue and potentially expand to reach more people across Wales.”
It is hoped by the end of the next six-month period in July, health boards will have expanded the community model to treat and support people with other long-term conditions, which have a similar impact to Long-COVID, including MS, ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The funding will also support the continuation of the self-management COVID recovery app and the All Wales guideline for the management of Long-COVID, which have helped to support people to self-manage their symptoms and provided healthcare professionals with up to date advice and learning to support the diagnosis and treatment of long COVID.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “We are continuing to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID and how it can affect people in different ways.
Unique service model
“We believe our approach of treating, supporting and managing people through our unique service model is the most efficient and effective way of achieving the best outcomes for people experiencing Long-COVID.
“Innovative programmes like the one being run by WNO show significant benefits to health and wellbeing and I hope this funding will create many more opportunities for people to take up other programmes like this to support their recovery and rehabilitation.
“We have been heartened to see the success of the first six months of Adferiad and look forward to not only seeing this programme continue, but learning from it so we can apply this knowledge to how we treat other long term conditions like MS, ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”
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