Background: Over 50 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed globally as of November 2020. Evidence is rapidly emerging on the epidemiology of COVID-19, and its impact on individuals and potential burden on health services and society. Between 10–35% of people with COVID-19 may experience post-acute long Covid. This currently equates to between 8,129 and 28,453 people in Scotland. Some of these people will require rehabilitation to support their recovery. Currently, we do not know how to optimally configure community rehabilitation services for people with long Covid. Methods: This national survey aimed to provide a detailed description of current community rehabilitation provision for people with long Covid in Scotland. We developed, piloted, and conducted a national electronic survey of current community rehabilitation service provision for people presenting with long Covid symptomatology. Our sample were the Allied Health Professions Directors of all 14 territorial NHS Health Boards in Scotland. Fixed response and narrative data were analysed descriptively. Results: Responses were received from all respondents (14/14), enabling a national picture to be gained. Almost all Health Boards (13/14) currently deliver rehabilitation for people with long Covid within pre-existing services. Fatigue (11/14) and respiratory conditions (9/14) were the two most common presenting problems of patients. Most long Covid community rehabilitation services are delivered through a combination of face-to-face and digital contact (13/14). Conclusions: Community rehabilitation for people with long Covid is an emerging reality. This survey provides a national picture of current community rehabilitation for people with long Covid. We do not know how community rehabilitation can be optimally delivered for this population. This is vital as community rehabilitation services were already under pressure prior to the emergence of COVID-19. Further research is urgently required to investigate the implementation, outcomes and cost-effectiveness of differing models of community rehabilitation for this patient population.[Version 2; peer review: 2 approved]


© 2021 Duncan E et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Duncan, E., Cooper, K., Cowie, J., Alexander, L., Morris, J. & Preston, J. 2021, 'A national survey of community rehabilitation service provision for people with long Covid in Scotland', F1000Research, 9, article no: 1416. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.27894.2

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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