The Scottish Conservatives are calling on the Scottish Government to accelerate measures to tackle the impact of “Long Covid”.
Shadow Health Secretary Donald Cameron has said that he is concerned about the implications the condition may have for people who contracted the disease during the pandemic and is surprised that ministers seem to have no plans to introduce specialist clinics to provide treatment.
Mr Cameron expressed his concerns after Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, received a response from Cabinet Secretary, Jeane Freeman, which appeared to discount the need for clinics.
Mr Cameron said: “We must not fall into the trap of thinking that once the vaccination programme is complete, and transmission rates pushed down, that we are out of the woods. The sad fact is that a significant number of people who contract Covid will be left with long-lasting symptoms which will affect their physical and mental well-being for some time to come."
“The symptoms can include fatigue, problems with sleeping, joint pain, depression and anxiety. The Scottish Government’s view that treating the condition can be addressed within existing structures is not sustainable. The impact of Long Covid is likely to be too far-reaching for that."
“Ministers were slow off the mark in recognising the dangers of transferring infected patients into care homes, and the roll-out of the vaccine got off to a slow start as well. We can’t afford to be playing catch-up with Long Covid too.”
Scottish Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross added:
"I raised this issue with the Health Secretary on behalf of a constituent here in Moray. But there have been cases on Long Covid reported all over the country."
"For those affected, many of whom had no health problems at all before contracting Covid, it has had a devastating impact. People may struggle to get back into work, and in some cases will find it really difficult to look after themselves."
"The Health Secretary has not indicated what plans the Scottish Government has in terms of Long Covid clinics, but this is an issue that is not going away - it needs to be addressed."