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Further support needed to help Long Covid sufferers

 

Scotland must do more to help those suffering long term health problems after contracting Covid-19, a health charity has said

A health charity has called for more to support to help sufferers of ‘Long Covid’.

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland says those who are suffering long term health problems after contracting the coronavirus are struggling.

Long Covid sufferers are the focus of a new report from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which suggests there is an urgent need to better understand the Covid-19 symptom journey and underlying clinical risks after having the virus.

Those living with Long Covid can experience breathing problems, anxiety, numbness or fatigue.

Lesley Macniven, co-founded the Long Covid Action Group Scotland, which is now asking the Scottish Government to bring the NHS and third sector together to provide a national support service.

She said: “There’s not one clear set of symptoms – people start to think they’re getting better and then they have a major setback.

“It’s really hard and as time goes on it’s harder to keep fighting back and be resilient.

“People are concerned they’re never going to get their jobs back or even their lives back again – it’s horrible.”

The report says there is an urgent need to better understand the symptom journey and the clinical risks that underlie that. People, their families and healthcare professionals need realistic expectations about what to expect.

It says support in the community must be considered alongside hospital one-stop clinics due to the nature of ongoing Covid-19. Social support needs to be understood together with the financial pressures on previously economically active people.

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: “People’s lives have been turned upside down by Long Covid. They are struggling to breathe, walk to their end of their street and some people have felt almost bed bound for months.

“Whether you have spent time in hospital or not, people can need support for months after the initial Covid infection.

“England have made positive progress, but we have a chance to do something even better in Scotland -bringing together health professionals and charities to provide a seamless package of care.

“We need to see a full national support service for Long Covid in Scotland. People don’t have time to wait. They need help now.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are already taking action to support those experiencing the longer physical and mental health impacts of Covid-19 and recognise that rehabilitation, clinical input and research are all critical to understanding and supporting recovery.

“That is why on 5 October the Chief Scientist Office launched a further call for Scottish-led research into this important issue.

“We have also published a framework for supporting people through recovery and rehabilitation during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, which puts in place clear principles, priorities and objectives to support planning to meet increasing demand and to provide high-quality person-centred rehabilitation in different settings.”

 

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