Where does the UK government stand on Long Covid?
When we first started our campaign, our primary goal, was to achieve recognition by the U.K. government. Though we’ve yet to achieve that in the sense that we imagine, long strides in that direction have definitely been made.
The first mention of this in Parliament came, in late June, from the Shadow Health Minister, Alex Norris, who tabled questions on LongCovid for the opposition. Unfortunately, the questions never received a response, and the first time the issue of #LongCovid was brought up in Parliament and received a response from the government was on the second of July, when Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP, who happens to be a #LongCovid sufferer himself, put the question to the Leader of the House.
Andrew was told to to address the question the Health Secretary.
Following that, Alex Norris again posed a question to the government, inquiring about the prevalence of #LongCovid. The response he received was that the government has not assessed the prevalence of people who are experiencing long term covid symptoms.
Subsequently, the a Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced an NHS programme geared towards helping those with long term symptoms recover, as well as earmarking about £8m to study the long term health effects of #LongCovid. Although the study is mostly geared towards patients who’d been hospitalised, we hope that whatever knowledge gained from the study can be applied to those who recovered at home.
Matt Hancock was again asked by Andrew Gwynne, and Natalie Bennet, in the House of Commons, on two seperate occasions, what the government had done for those suffering from #LongCovid. He stated he was aware that a “small but significant minority” are still experiencing symptoms, while mentioning the aforementioned government initiatives. Matt also appeared on Sky News to make a similar statement.
A not so insignificantly sized number of MPs have since shown support for #LongCovid sufferers either on social media, or in communication with LongCovidSOS.
Furthermore, the governments of Wales and Scotland have both written back to us after receiving our open letter, acknowledging #LongCovid.
We are proud of the role we’ve played in raising awareness of #LongCovid and galvanising towards action in the early days. We’re also incredibly grateful for the support we received from MPs early on.
Although we‘ve come far, we’ve yet to see #LongCovid become an official diagnosis with the whole slew of symptoms recognised. We’re also patiently waiting for the government to provide financial support to those who have been unable to continue doing their jobs due to the impact of #LongCovid.