Scottish Daily Mail


- By Jane-Claire Judson Jane-Claire Judson is chief executive of Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland.

PEOPLE using our long Covid services say they are fighting to be heard and feel lost. They’ve been saying it for three years now. And frankly, they deserve better from the Scottish Government.

Those who develop long Covid find their lives turned upside down. In many cases sufferers have been forced to give up the things they love; the things so many of us take for granted like going to work, playing with the kids or even breathing without difficulty.

Healthcare provision in Scotland is patchy at best. Five health boards have no dedicated long Covid staff, with a further two having no dedicated long Covid support at all.

It is unacceptab­le that the Scottish Government still hasn’t come up with a co-ordinated approach for the thousands whose lives have been devastated by this condition. And the biggest injustice is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

The response to the pandemic showed us how everyone can come together to respond quickly to a major crisis. Services could cut through red tape, innovate and act with agility in the face of disaster.

Unfortunat­ely, we seem to have lost the sense of urgency. The constant delay in co-ordinated action isn’t only devastatin­g for those affected, it is also putting incredible pressure on NHS staff. Our NHS colleagues care deeply about the people they support. A better approach to long Covid care will mean a better approach to the long-term survival of our NHS.

At Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland we want the new First Minister and Health Secretary to make time to prioritise a co-ordinated response to the long Covid health crisis.

We need to see integrated referrals to third sector support services across all health boards and GP surgeries, access to multi-disciplina­ry teams to co-ordinate treatment and diagnostic­s, better awareness and training for clinicians and support for increasing research into treatments.

A more co-ordinated approach means we can provide people with the support they need and relieve pressure on NHS staff and services.

So let’s work together at speed, cut the excuses, cut the bureaucrac­y and give people the care they desperatel­y need.

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