The guidance says: “Signs and symptoms may arise from any system in the body, often overlap, and may change over time. This includes but is not limited to the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, musculoskeletal, metabolic, renal, dermatological, otolaryngological, haematological and autonomic systems, in addition to psychiatric problems, generalised pain, fatigue and persisting fever.”
Those with “one or more ongoing symptoms” will be included in the definition.
The guidance is being drawn up in conjunction with the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign) .
The scope outlines what areas the guideline will cover. These will include what symptoms or signs should prompt a referral for specialist assessment or management, what pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions improve physical or mental health symptoms following acute Covid-19, and how best to deliver post-Covid syndrome recovery and rehabilitation services.
Safia Qureshi, the director of evidence for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, of which Sign is a part, said: “We understand that Long Covid is creating great distress and uncertainty for those affected, and that the NHS requires the best available advice to support people effectively, even as we continue to seek to understand it.
“The scope report is a first and vital stage in the production of a guideline which aims to identify symptoms and outline treatment options. We’re delighted to work with Nice and the RCGP on this important piece of work.”
Prof Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Before we can effectively diagnose, treat and manage a condition, we need to know what we’re dealing with, so it’s encouraging to be making such rapid progress in this regard as we work with NICE and SIGN to develop this important guidance.
“The prolonged health effects that some patients experience after contracting Covid-19 can have a terrible impact on their lives – and as GPs, we want to do what we can to help them.
“Now that we are clear about its scope, we can move forward in developing guidance, based on the latest evidence, to support GPs to deliver the most appropriate care and support to patients suffering with the long-term effects of Covid-19 in the community.
“This guidance will need to evolve as our understanding of the condition grows through clinical experience and robust research”.