Long waits for appointments in special outpatient clinics, overworked general practitioners and the right therapy not yet found - many Long Covid sufferers are in need. A congress in Jena shed light on the situation.
Jena (dpa/th) - According to experts, more and better coordinated supply capacities are necessary for the medical care of Long Covid patients. At the around 90 special outpatient clinics nationwide, sick people would have to wait between six and nine months for an appointment.
Regional networks between specialized outpatient clinics and resident doctors make sense, said doctor Claudia Ellert from the Long Covid Germany initiative at the first congress of the Long Covid Medical Association in Jena.
At the congress in Jena on Friday and Saturday, more than 2000 participants exchanged previous findings on the diagnosis and therapy of Long Covid. They followed 30 lectures by experts from Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, the USA and Brazil.
According to congress information, around three million people in Germany are struggling with the sometimes extreme late effects of a corona infection, which is around 10 percent of those infected since the beginning of the pandemic. They sometimes suffer for months from symptoms such as chronic exhaustion (fatigue), respiratory problems or cognitive limitations.
The Vice President of the German Medical Association, Ellen Lundershausen, advocated a phased program. At the same time, she pointed out that many general practitioners are overburdened and do not have enough time for those affected. "They are at the limit."
Long Covid sufferers are often so severely impaired that they can neither make their way to the various specialists nor to the special outpatient clinics, some of which are far away, said Stallmach. The Jena University Hospital therefore wants to develop a care concept close to home. The core is a mobile ambulance that combines on-site diagnostics and care with video consultations. "We come to the patient by bus," said Stallmach.
The Joint Federal Committee (GBA) of health insurance companies, doctors and clinics has approved 5.8 million euros for a corresponding study, which is scheduled to last three years and is to include almost 700 patients. The GBA is the body that decides which medical services are covered by statutory health insurance.
According to Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD), improvements for Long Covid patients should also bring the hospital reform he is planning. The reform should, for example, promote the establishment of special outpatient clinics, said Lauterbach, who was connected via video at the start of the congress on Friday.
The German patient guidelines define complaints that exist longer than four weeks after the corona infection as long covid, and as post covid they last longer than twelve weeks.