I have been contacted by many constituents who have been suffering from Long Covid and today MPs are debating this issue in the House of Commons. Previously fit and healthy people have found themselves still seriously ill months after contracting Covid19.
Most people who have symptoms recover after a few weeks and are able to resume their normal lives with no problems. However for some, the effects of the virus can last for several weeks or months with symptoms including extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches, breathlessness, and aching muscles and joints.
Research has shown one in five people with coronavirus develop longer term symptoms. While around 186,000 people suffer problems for up to 12 weeks according to the Office for National Statistics found.
It can seem like a cycle of improving and then getting worse again. These long-term effects have not just been experienced by those admitted to hospital, but has been felt by even those who had mild symptoms when they first caught the virus.
The debilitating and ongoing symptoms have left people unable to work and worried about where they will receive income from during these difficult times. There has been a lack of information, poor access to long Covid clinics, and a lack of investment into treatment for long Covid. So, in November I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing for people with long Covid in Feltham and Heston and across England.
Following this the Government announced that NHS England has provided £10 million to fund over 60 ‘long COVID-19’ specialised clinics, including 10 in London.
The centres bring together doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical and psychological assessments and refer patients to the right treatment and rehabilitation services.
Patients can access services if they are referred by a GP or another healthcare professional, so that doctors can first rule out other possible underlying causes for symptoms. In the meantime, I’ll continue working hard to press the Government to ensure constituents can access these clinics and receive the financial and medical support they need.