Rachael Hamilton met with Lead Clinician, Covid -19 Clinical Network Linda Gray at the Borders General Hospital to discuss the effects of long Covid.
Linda Gray, a Respiratory Physiotherapist, discussed with the Borders MSP about the plans for a Covid-19 Clinical Network and for long Covid support and rehabilitation.
It is estimated that 376,000 people are living with long Covid in the UK. For some people, Covid-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or "long Covid". Common long Covid symptoms can include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath or chest pain.
The Scottish Conservatives are due to publish a full Long Covid Plan before the Parliament recess on 24 June.
Mrs Hamilton wants to see a network of ‘long Covid’ clinics to be established across Scotland, so that the Scottish Government can treat the growing problem of long Covid with urgency, given the numbers it affects.
She proposes the centres are based on the post Covid-19 rehabilitation pathway developed by the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT).
The clinics would bring together multidisciplinary teams including specialists in pulmonary rehabilitation, social prescribing, physiotherapy, psychology and chronic fatigue alongside GPs, pharmacists and nurses.
Further to this she hopes an app, which is used as part of research project by the University of Glasgow to understand the long-term health of people who have had COVID-19, will be rolled out across Scotland in the near future.
Rachael Hamilton said:
“The effects of long Covid are not yet fully known, yet it is causing difficulties for many already.
“Long Covid patients find simple tasks, such as walking up stairs or hanging out washing, extremely tiring and this can be very concerning for the individual, particularly for younger people. Symptoms can present themselves in physical and cognitive ways and no two people may share the same indicators’
“It was fantastic to meet Linda to hear the work that her team is being carried out, and proposed.
“Through rehabilitation and social prescribing, the aim is to help those living with long Covid to get their lives back.
“The Covid in Scotland Study (CISS) has started work to improve our understanding of the condition and that’s very welcome. We cannot wait for the outcome of that study to start acting. The SNP Government has to get to grips with this problem faster. They need to treat this issue with far more urgency.
“The Scottish Conservatives are proposing a network of long Covid community clinics across Scotland, bolstered by a few specialist centres to give these patients hope and to provide consistent and optimised management based on existing models of care.
“People have battled through Covid only to realise that the virus is still affecting them. We need more action from the SNP Government to give those people the hope of a Covid-free future.”