About this event

  • Date and time Thu 20 Jan 2022 from 12:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Location Online

According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK reported suffering from long COVID in December. The prevalence of self-reported long COVID has remained highest in people living in more deprived areas and those working in health or social care. 

Six months on from our first Spotlight on long COVID, this second episode will look at the current prevalence and cases of long COVID, how our understanding of symptoms and treatments has moved on, and the challenges around access to care.

 This episode will: 

  • Advise health professionals on how to continue managing and supporting patients with long COVID using the latest research and treatments  
  • Showcase how long COVID has impacted children and young people 
  • Discuss the challenges and solutions around access to care, and rising referral rates to long COVID clinics 
  • Address the various barriers that different population groups like minority ethnic communities are facing around long COVID 
  • Find out how healthcare workers are being affected by long COVID e.g. morale, workforce turnover, wellbeing 
  • Understand how other countries are coping with long COVID and what they are doing differently to the UK 

In addition, we are offering all those who book another chance to watch the first episode of Spotlight on Long COVID with a free link to the recording.  

A CPD certificate with 3 CPD credits will be issued to those joining the webinar live as well as those who watch the recording afterwards. Certificates will be issued 7 days after the webinar to those who watch it live and after 30 days for those that watch the recording.

This webinar is available for on-demand viewing. The webinar recording will be available for registered delegates up to 60 days after the live webinar broadcast via Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

Join in the conversation online by using #RSMLive 

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Key speakers

Dr Bola Owolabi (1)

Dr Bola Owolabi MB BS DFFP MRCGP MSc

Director of Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement and General Practitioner.

Speaker's biography

Dr Bola Owolabi MB BS DFFP MRCGP MSc is Director of Health Inequalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement. She works as a General Practitioner in the Midlands.

Bola has particular interests in reducing health inequalities through Integrated CareModels, Service Transformation and using data & insights for Quality Improvement.

Bola has held various leadership roles at the local, system and national levels. She was until recently, National Specialty Advisor for Older People and Integrated Person Centred-Care at NHS England and Improvement where she led the Anticipatory Care Workstream of the National Ageing Well Programme. She has worked with teams across NHS England/Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care as part of the Covid 19 Pandemic response. 

She is an alumnus of Ashridge Executive Education/Hult International Business School and holds a Masters degree with distinction in Leadership (Quality Improvement)

She holds an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Executive Healthcare Leadership for Clinicians. 

Bola is a generation Q Fellow of the Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Dr Elaine Maxwell

Dr Elaine Maxwell

Former Scientific Advisor at NIHR

Speaker's biography

Dr Elaine Maxwell is a Former Scientific Advisor at NIHR. Prior to this she was a content lead in the NIHR’s dissemination centre and is the lead author on the two dynamic reviews of evidence on Long Covid, published in October 2020 and March 2021. 

 Elaine has also been both an Executive Director and a Non-Executive Director in NHS Foundation Trusts. 

Graham Burns

Dr Graham Burns

BSc MBBS DipMedSci PGC(MedEd) FRCP(Lond) FRCP(Edin) PhD

Consultant Respiratory Physician, Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle. President of the British Thoracic Society (2020-21)

Speaker's biography

Graham Burns began his academic life as a mathematician studying to post graduate level in Cambridge. After deciding the raw pursuit of wealth in the City would not plug the existentialist gap, he explored a number of other diversions including work as an actor, voluntary work in India and a year in the Lord Chancellors Department in Westminster before taking up Medicine.

In 2002 he was appointed as Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Newcastle University.

His clinical work (before the pandemic) has principally been in COPD and asthma, including the specialist severe asthma service. He lectures nationally and internationally on lung physiology.

Although a full-time NHS clinician has supervised a number of PhD students, in several areas including the psychological impact of chronic lung disease.

At the start of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, he set up his hospital’s Respiratory Support Unit and designed the respiratory support escalation protocol, later published by the British Thoracic Society as a national guide. He published the first paper highlighting the benefits of CPAP in COVID respiratory failure.

Early after the first wave of the pandemic, he set up a post-COVID Assessment Clinic with MDT review including physical and psychological components of the condition. This model formed the basis for the subsequent National Service Specification on which he was a principal advisor to NHSE. He was recently appointed as National Specialist Advisor on Long Covid to NHSE

President of the British Thoracic Society (2020-21)

Dr Kiren Collison

Dr Kiren Collison

Interim Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England and Improvement. Clinical Chair of Oxfordshire CCG, Co-Chair of her ICS Primary Care Board and board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners. General Practitioner.

Speaker's biography

Dr Kiren Collison is a GP in Oxfordshire and the interim Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England and Improvement. Kiren is also the Clinical Chair of Oxfordshire CCG, Co-Chair of her ICS Primary Care Board and board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners. She trained at Cambridge University and University College London. Kiren has a particular interest in strengthening primary care, preventing illness and tackling health inequalities. By writing a weekly magazine health column, Kiren is also keen to spread important health messages to a national and international audience. 

Graham Lawton

Graham Lawton

Staff writer and columnist at New Scientist, and the author of The Origin of (Almost) Everything

Speaker's biography

Graham Lawton is a staff writer and columnist at New Scientist, and the author of The Origin of (Almost) Everything. After a degree in biochemistry and a MSc in science communication, both from Imperial College, Graham Lawton landed at New Scientist, where he has been as a columnist and feature writer. His writing and editing have won a number of awards. He is interested in the environment, wildlife, biomedicine, food and all things Finnish.   

Roz Shafran

Professor Roz Shafran

Chair in Translational Psychology at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Speaker's biography

Professor Roz Shafran is Chair in Translational Psychology at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. She is an honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist, a member of the Health Professions Council and an accredited therapist with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. Professor Shafran founded the Charlie Waller Institute of Evidenced Based Psychological Treatment in 2007 at the University of Reading and was its director until 2012. She is a Trustee of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Patron of 'No Panic' and recipient of prizes such as the Positive Practice 'Making a Difference' Award, British Psychological Society Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in Practice and Marsh Award for Mental Health for research that has made a difference to clinical practice. Professor Shafran is a former associate editor of 'Behaviour Research and Therapy' and currently serve on the NIHR HTA Mental Health panel and am a NICE Expert Advisor. 

Darren Brown

Darren Brown

Chair and co-founder of Long COVID Physio. Clinical academic Physiotherapist specialising in HIV, disability and rehabilitation.

Speaker's biography

Darren Brown is a cis-gendered (pronouns he/him/his), gay, white man, of mixed English and Irish heritage, living in London UK. Darren is a clinical academic Physiotherapist specialising in HIV, disability and rehabilitation. Darren contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 and is living with Long COVID and associated episodic disability. Darren is the Chair and co-founder of Long COVID Physio. Darren's Long COVID activities include national and international education, advocacy, research, and policy, including with World Health Organization and World Physiotherapy.

Susanne Nielson

Susanne Nielsen

WHO Consultant in Rehabilitation, World Health Organisation Europe Office

Speaker's biography

Susanne Nielsen, BSc, MPH, is a Consultant in Rehabilitation for WHO Europe Office. Trained and worked in the UK as a physiotherapist, with a special interest in neurology and respiratory. Susanne has worked as a project manager and rehabilitation consultant in various humanitarian projects in China and Haiti, as well as working with WHO in Mongolia on rehabilitation post Stroke and Myocardial Infarction.

She is an Education Committee member of the International Spinal Cord Society and with specific support to work on capacity building in spinal cord injury rehabilitation in Mongolia.

Lastly, Susanne has worked in Denmark; clinically in neurosurgery as well as research and development. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, she has also been working in the acute setting with Covid-19 patients both in the intensive and semi-intensive care unit up until discharge from the hospital.

Lesley Macniven (1)

Lesley Macniven

Writer, Coach and OD Consultant, Long Covid Support Leadership Team and Employment Group Chair

Speaker's biography

Lesley Macniven MA, FCIPD, is a non-fiction writer, coach and freelance consultant, passionate about workplace equality. Her work delivering Diversity, Inclusion and Change projects was interrupted when she caught Covid19 at work in early March 2020. While recovering, Lesley became a moderator, campaigner, spokesperson then Steering Group member for an emerging patient-led community: Long Covid Support (now a UK charity). She led a similar campaign in Scotland, co-founding offshoot Long Covid Scotland in August 2020. 

Patient-led campaigning has seen progress in the areas of rehab, research and recognition for the patient-named, poorly understood phenomenon ‘Long Covid’.  As the pandemic progressed it became evident support would also be needed to retain and support workers catching Covid19 that went on to experience ongoing symptoms to make a steady and sustainable return to work.

In early 2021 Lesley became Chair of a dedicated Long Covid Employment Working Group and joined the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) led multidisciplinary Long Covid task force.  Both groups have been proactively responding to the impact of Long Covid on the health of our workforce.

Employment group members all bring impressive professional change management, occupational health and vocational rehabilitation skills to their lived experience advocacy roles. The research, collate, disseminate, and communicate insights and information to members and external agencies. Under Lesley’s leadership, they have formed a consultancy www.LongCovidWork.co.uk to pool their multidisciplinary perspectives and resources to co-design innovative, effective solutions to the impacts of Long Covid on individuals and organisations. Our website contains links to resources including those developed working with organisational partners the CIPD, SOM and The TUC. These include Long Covid resources for managers, employers and Union reps through webinars, podcasts and training interventions.

Lt Col Mark Cranley

Consultant Rehabilitation and Sport & Exercise Medicine at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre

Speaker's biography

Lt Col Mark Cranley is a dual-trained consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine and Sport & Exercise Medicine. He trained in London and worked at DMRC Headley Court and now at DMRC Stanford Hall following the unit relocation. He has been part of the Defence COVID rehabilitation and recovery services for military personnel with post COVID symptoms. He has been a co-author of published papers on post COVID rehabilitation with further work under submission.


View the programme 20 January 2022

Welcome and introduction

Graham Lawton, Staff Writer at New Scientist

Session 1 - Where are we now?

Chaired by Graham Lawton, Staff Writer at New Scientist

Setting the scene

Dr Elaine Maxwell, former Scientific Advisor, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), lead author of NIHR's Long Covid review

Implementation of Long COVID Plan

Dr Kiren Collison, GP, Chair of the National Long Covid Taskforce and Deputy Medical Director of Primary Care, NHS England & NHS Improvement

Q&A session

Session 2 - A look into key health topics

Chaired by Graham Lawton, Staff Writer at New Scientist

Children with long COVID

Professor Roz Shafran, Chair in Translational Psychology, Population, Policy & Practice Department, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Rehabilitation treatments

Lt Col Mark Cranley, Consultant Rehabilitation and Sport & Exercise Medicine, Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre

European perspective on Long COVID

Ms Susanne Nielsen, WHO Consultant in Rehabilitation, World Health Organisation Europe Office

Supporting staff with long COVID in the workplace

Lesley Macniven, Long Covid Support Steering Group member & Chair, UK Long Covid Support Employment Working Group


Session 3 - Assessing access

Chaired by Tom Moberly, UK Editor, The BMJ

Panel discussion

Panel members

Dr Bola Owolabi, Director, Health Inequalities, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Dr Graham Burns, Consultant physician, Lecturer, Royal Victoria Infirmary and Newcastle University, National Specialty Adviser for Long Covid, NHS

Darren Brown, Specialist Physiotherapist, HIV and Oncology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Closing remarks



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM.

Registration for this webinar will close at 11:00am on 20 January 2022. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted. 

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