Queen Margaret University- Policy and service design through Covid-19

Policy and service design through Covid-19

This resource is for people who contribute to policy, service funding and service design that may be relevant to people who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

We have based this guidance on information from a study carried out at Queen Margaret University in collaboration with Long Covid Scotland. This was funded by the Chief Scientist Office and the Scottish Funding Council.

Many people have post-traumatic stress symptoms and unmet support needs from experiencing ill health through the pandemic.

Designing effective and trusted policy and services requires involvement from these people, particularly those who have had COVID-19 and Long Covid.

People have expressed the need for:

  • Consistent information that contributes to policy for different sectors, as there is confusion and distrust about policy and messaging that sometimes conflict. For example, policy relating to the workplace should take new information about Long Covid into account.
  • Trusted, accessible information online, relating to health, social and financial needs.
  • Alternative ways to access information, such as by telephone helpline, because some do not have the equipment or ability to use online information effectively.
  • Ongoing access to more intensive health, social and financial support because some have a fluctuating condition, such as Long Covid, and their needs change over time.
  • Multidisciplinary rehabilitation to aid recovery from Long Covid. Some people may need vocational rehabilitation to help them find a new, appropriate form of work.
  • Specialist Long Covid clinics to reduce the exhaustion of navigating health systems and enable holistic multidisciplinary problem-solving and collaborative learning with patients.

All services should be designed and delivered using person-centred values and principles.

Not paying attention to people’s needs could have devastating consequences.

One person with Long Covid told us:

"Look, this is going to be a nightmare going forward, and you’re either going to ignore it and its going to be a nightmare for a hell of a lot of people who aren’t going to be able to work and who won’t be able to get help, and will basically be disabled, so economically and health-wise, NHS-wise, it’s going to be a nightmare. Or you actually deal with it now and get these things set up now.”

Increasing intensity of support

  1. Trusted source of information and signposting (health, social, financial, work-related).
  2. Population support for post-traumatic stress and loneliness.
  3. Cross-sector congruence in policy and guidelines.

Access to support at different timesand in different ways as needs change and skills/resources differ: ideally ‘one-stop shop’ with no discrimination in access.

Multidisciplinary rehabilitation.

Follow us on Twitter for updates about our study - SupportAfterCovidStudy


Prof. Cathy Bulley: Email Address

Queen Margaret University,


EH21 6UU


Prof. Cathy Bulley, Dr. Vaibhav Tyagi, Dr. Eleanor Curnow, Prof. Jan Dewing, Prof. Brendan McCormack, Dr. Lisa Salisbury, Dr. Olivia Sagan, Ruth Magowan, Dr. Kath Nicol, Dr. Kim Stuart, Ms Barbara Melville