A call for more concerted action on long Covid, including the establishment of a new Cross-Party group at Holyrood, has been welcomed by Martin Whitfield MSP.
The call was made by Scottish Labour’s deputy leader and health spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP, following what she described as ‘the SNP’s failure to address the threat of long Covid’.
Statistics from the ONS state that around 75,000 Scots are currently living with self-reported long Covid and Scottish Government modelling has suggested that up to 105,000 Scots are predicted to experience Covid symptoms 12 weeks after first infection.
Several people suffering from long Covid symptoms have faced severe difficulty in their day-to-day lives and have been unable to return to work. Despite this, Scotland trails behind the rest of the UK in facing up to the threat of long Covid.
In England, the UK government has committed £34m for the creation of at least 83 specialist long Covid clinics. Northern Ireland has also set up specialist clinics, and in Wales the Labour government has invested at least £5m in long Covid services and clinical pathways.
Last Tuesday, Jackie Baillie asked the First Minister why the Scottish government has not funded long Covid clinics in Scotland. In response, Ms Sturgeon refused to state that the Scottish Government has any immediate plans to establish such clinics in Scotland.
Today, Ms Baillie is declaring her intention to begin discussions with all parties in the Scottish Parliament on the creation of a Cross Party Group on long Covid.
Commenting on the call for action, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“It is estimated that as many as 100,000 Scots, including children, could be suffering from long Covid symptoms.
“While more is being discovered every day about this condition, we already know that it will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland and the strength of the economy.
“Given the potential scale of long Covid’s impact it is astonishing that the people of Scotland are already being left behind when it comes to specialist treatment.
“The Scottish Government’s refusal to act on this issue is dangerous time-wasting which threatens the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people.
“I welcome Jackie Baillie’s call for immediate action and her intention to form a Cross-Party Group to help push the government into finally addressing long Covid.”