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LOCOMOTION: tackling the effects of Long-Covid

LOCOMOTION (LOng COvid Multidisciplinary consortium: Optimising Treatments and servIces across the NHS) is a £3.4 million research project that has been launched to identify how to best support and treat those living with Long Covid.

The study is led by the University of Leeds and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

The study is looking into treatments and services related to Long Covid, ensuring the right services are provided to the right people - in their home, at the GP or at Long Covid Clinics.

Why is the LOCOMOTION study needed?

Not only does Covid-19 pose a considerable challenge to the NHS in terms of new infections, but there is increasing pressure to help people who are experiencing Long Covid.

Many people are still suffering with the after-effects of Covid-19, after recovering from the original infections. In June 2021, it was estimated that 1.5% of the UK’s population had Long Covid, and four out of ten of people with Long Covid were still experiencing symptoms a year after.

Long Covid can have a considerable impact on a person’s quality of life and make working incredibly difficult. The Trades Union reported that half of 3,500 surveyed people with Long Covid said that they had felt some form of discrimination, as a result of the illness.

Dr Manoj Sivan, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University and a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, explains that:

“Long Covid is a debilitating condition that has turned the lives of a large group of people upside down, with many unable to work or carry out activities that were possible before they became ill”. 

What is Long Covid?

Long Covid is an informal term for when Covid-19 symptoms are still experienced 4 week after the infection.

Long Covid describes two different conditions:

  • Ongoing symptomatic: Covid-19 symptoms that last between 4-12 weeks
  • Post-covid syndrome: Ongoing Covid-19 symptoms that continue for more than 12 weeks.

Long Covid symptoms can change over time but commonly reported symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest tightness, chest pain, joint/muscle pain, brain fog (inability to focus or think clearly), changes to sense of smell and taste and persistent coughing.

How will LOCOMOTION help those with Long Covid?

The study LOCOMOTION is very important, seeking to help those with Long Covid receive treatment through existing services, like their GP. Co-lead Professor Brandon Delaney, a General Practitioner and Chair in Medical Informatics and Decision-Making at Imperial College London explains:

"The diagnosis and management of long COVID is a huge challenge for doctors as it presents with a large array of symptoms which evolve over time. We need to learn rapidly what works best from the existing services”.

The LOCOMOTION study aims to deliver many outcomes:

  • Treatment options: Researchers will produce a best practice guide on the most effective treatments, sharing their findings with Long Covid clinics.
  • Supporting return to work: The study will investigate how many people are out of work, as a result of Long Covid, and devise vocational rehabilitation programmes to allow people to return to work.
  • Understanding the triggers: The study will try to identify physical, emotional and cognitive triggers that can result in people experiencing symptoms which set their recovery back and examine if these can be monitored at home.

How Do I get Involved?

To get involved in the LOCOMOTION study, contact your GP if you think you have Long Covid and ask to be referred to the Local Long Covid clinic, at the clinic you will be offered a chance to take part in the study.

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact