SOM issues Covid and long Covid return-to-work guidance

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The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) has published new guidance on returning to work after Covid-19 and long Covid, which is aimed at workers in particular.

The leaflet offers advice from the occupational health community on topics including what employees should do if they develop symptoms of Covid-19; what needs to be discussed with their manager if they are off work for a longer period; what managers’ responsibilities are; and what medical clearances or adjustments may be needed to enable a return to work.

It also outlines how OH can help an employee when they go back to work, as well as examples of some of the rehabilitation support services employers may provide, such as counselling helplines or occupational therapy.

Finally, it reminds employees of what responsibilities employers have for their health and wellbeing.

Meanwhile, the govenrment has announced that four studies into the long-term impact of the coronavirus will receive £18.5m in funding.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact long Covid can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the extent of the initial symptoms. Fatigue, headaches and breathlessness can affect people for months after their Covid-19 infection regardless of whether they required hospital admission initially.

“In order to effectively help these individuals we need to better understand long Covid and identify therapeutics that can help recovery. This funding will kickstart four ambitious projects to do just that.”

The studies set to receive funding are: REACT long Covid (Imperial College London); the TLC Study (University of Birmingham); Characterisation, determinants, mechanisms and consequences of the long-term effects of Covid-19 (University College London); and The CLoCK Study (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health).

Elsewhere, MPs on the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus have called for compensation for frontline health workers who continue to feel the long-term effects of Covid-19 in the weeks and months after infection.

Around 390,000 people in the UK are thought to have long Covid, and MP Layla Moran has suggested that many have been unable to return to work full time.

There are now 69 specialist long Covid clinics operating across England, with more set to open shortly.

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