Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Using the full pseudonymised GP records of 57.9 million patients in England, researchers at Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have found that formally recorded diagnoses of Long COVID are substantially lower than previous survey estimates for the same condition.

Healthcare professional looking at a laptop with stethoscope in hand

This finding raises important questions about how Long COVID is diagnosed, recorded, and managed in the NHS. 

Numerous recent studies have used questionnaire research methods to determine the prevalence of Long COVID, with the most recent estimates suggesting that approximately 2 million people have the condition (REACT2) and that between 7.8% and 17% of COVID patients experience symptoms for more than 12 weeks (National Core Studies Programme).

By contrast, for a study published today in the British Journal of General Practice, the research team ran an analysis across the full electronic health records of 57.9 million patients in England, in order to identify all those with a diagnostic code for Long COVID entered by their GP. They found only 23,273 cases ever formally recorded between February 2020 and April 2021, in a sample covering 96% of the population. Cases ranged from 20.3 per 100,000 people in the East of England, to 55.6 per 100,000 in London, with 52.1 cases per 100,000 women compared with 28.1 cases per 100,000 men. Interestingly, levels of reporting also varied greatly between GP practices, and with the type of computer-based systems used by GPs to record patient information.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Population-scale study highlights ongoing risk of COVID-19 in some cancer patients despite vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is effective in most cancer patients, but the level of protection against COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death offered by the vaccine is less than in the general population and vaccine effectiveness wanes more quickly.

New reporting guidelines developed to improve AI in healthcare settings

New reporting guidelines, jointly published in Nature Medicine and the BMJ by Oxford researchers, will ensure that early studies on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to treat real patients will give researchers the information needed to develop AI systems safely and effectively.

Major boost for Oxford’s mission to counter future pandemic threats

The Moh Family Foundation has given a substantial gift to support the work of Oxford University’s Pandemic Sciences Institute, greatly strengthening its ability to identify and counter future pandemic threats and ensure equitable access to treatments and vaccines around the world.

Three NHSBT research units launch at University of Oxford

The NIHR has awarded three new Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) to the University of Oxford.

Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose provides stronger immunity boost than third dose, shows UK study

COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth doses in the UK offer excellent boosting immunity protection, according to the latest results from a nationwide NIHR-supported study.