Pharmacists’ knowledge, data and research capability should be used when researching treatments for long Covid, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said in a new policy document.
This comes as an estimated 962,000 people in the UK (1.5% of the population) are thought to be living with long Covid.
The policy document, which was published yesterday (19 August), sets out a list of recommendations for pharmaceutical care in the management and treatment of long Covid.
Among several points, the RPS recommends that provision and access of pharmaceutical care should be embedded across the integrated care pathway for all patients with long Covid.
For this to happen, the RPS is pushing for pharmacists to have full read/write access to the patient health record ‘in the interest of high quality, safe and effective patient care’, it said.
It also recommends that pharmacists across all the sectors be appointed to work within multi-professional teams supported by an infrastructure that ‘enables recognised referral pathways, access to records and shared decision-making’, it added.
This is because the RPS believes that patients with long Covid would benefit from having access to a highly trained pharmacy workforce that has experience with Covid patients and awareness of the early signs and symptoms of long Covid.
Commenting on the new document, RPS president Claire Anderson said: ‘We strongly believe that access to a pharmacist must always be considered when new services are planned and delivered to support people with long Covid.
‘To ensure that people with long Covid see the right professional at the right time recognised pathways must be established – ranging from self-care to specialist interventions.
‘To help those suffering it’s essential that pharmacy teams themselves are supported. RPS continues to work at all levels to represent pharmacists who have experienced the impact of long Covid.’
Earlier this month, research found the nervous systems of healthy young people who had contracted Covid-19 appear to be altered by the virus.
Around 34,000 children in the UK are thought to be experiencing long Covid symptoms, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The 15 new paediatric hubs will draw together experts on common symptoms, such as respiratory problems and fatigue, who can directly treat youngsters, advise family doctors or others caring for them or refer them to other specialist services and clinics.