Long Covid is an issue that is being felt at a significant scale in Scotland, across the UK and indeed the world, with little empirical research to convey the reality faced by sufferers.
It is estimated to have affected 2.4%of the UK population, over 100,000 people in Scotland alone. 60,000 Scots are estimated have suffered from Long Covid for over a year.
More empirical research is urgently needed to respond to this health challenge. The Scottish Government recently awarded £2.5 million in funding to nine research projects in several Scottish Universities seeking to better understand the Long-term effects of Covid-19 on the physical and mental wellbeing of sufferers in Scotland to develop effective clinical interventions for patient recovery and rehabilitation.
This in addition to providing funding to an ongoing study seeking to understand the longer-term lung health of COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome on survivors and supporting Scottish participation in the UK-wide Post-Hospitalisation COVID-19 study.
The Scottish National Clinical Director Jason Leitch has urged a holistic approach to Long Covid offering sufferers community rehab, GP support and web advice to maximise the use of Scotland’s primary care system to ensure no sufferer is left behind.
The Scottish Government has created a long Covid strategic network which brings together clinical experts, NHS boards, third sector organisations including Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and those with lived experience. This will guide how the Scottish Government plan and design care and ensure its £10 million Long Covid Support Fund is targeted at the areas where additional support can make the biggest difference.
My SNP colleagues and I will continue to highlight Long Covid's impact, highlighting the need for more research, greater support for those with Long Covid, and call for an uplift in the UK's statutory sick pay, among the lowest in Europe, to support those suffering from the consequences of long covid.