Long Covid SOS today congratulated new Health and Social Care Secretary Thérèse Coffey on her appointment and called for her to do more to find a treatment for the 2 million people living with Long Covid in the UK.
In an open letter, published today in the BMJ, the charity called on her to prioritise and treat the needs of those living with Long Covid – essential workers, carers, parents, and children – describing it as the ‘pandemic after the pandemic.’
According to the latest ONS figures, and despite widespread vaccination, 681,000 (34%) of those with Long Covid developed this during the recent Omicron period.
Speaking today, Ondine Sherwood, co-founder of Long Covid SOS, said:
“We call upon Thérèse Coffey to recognise the continuing impact of this rising wave of Long Covid. With 2 million affected, a huge number of people are just disappearing from their place in active life – and with no effective treatment this is having a severe impact on the NHS, the economy and society as a whole.
“The Government needs to act now to fund research into an effective treatment, help the NHS manage the condition and work with the DWP to support and assist those affected so they are able to return to work.”
As well as requesting a meeting in person to discuss the issue further, the letter asks the Health and Social Care Secretary to:
1. Increase dedicated funding for the NHS, including GPs, so that more people can be seen and helped to deal with what is, for many, a life altering condition
2. Enable the NIHR to fund more urgent research into post covid sequalae so that effective treatments can be rapidly identified and approved, enabling people to re-join society and contribute to the economy. Ongoing data monitoring and risk management are also crucial to understand and mitigate the impact of Long Covid
3. Help people who cannot work. Recognise that Long Covid is an occupational disease, that a proportion are disabled, and improve links between the departments of Health and Social Care and Work and Pensions so that those affected can receive the compensation and benefits they deserve. Those able to return to work, especially in public service, should be offered support so that they can do safely.
4. Improve Covid safety measures in public indoor places such as schools so that transmission can be limited over the coming months.
You can read the letter published in the British Medical Journal here: https://www.bmj.com/content/378/bmj.o2287
Below is a full copy of the letter: