Covid Scotland: About 173,000 people estimated to have long Covid

Some 173,000 people in Scotland are estimated to be suffering from long Covid, new figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released estimates of the prevalence of the condition on Thursday.

Long Covid is when people who contract the illness suffer long-term symptoms like excess fatigue or shortness of breath.

The ONS said 75,000 of the 173,000 with long Covid could have had it for over a year.

A study has revealed three 'sub-types' of long Covid. Picture: PA

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In a sign of the condition’s longevity, figures also show more than 400,000 people in the UK with long Covid are likely to have first had the virus at least two years ago.

The Scottish Lib Dems have repeated calls for dedicated long Covid clinics, as well as the training of specialist nurses, access to rehab for sufferers and the promise of no detriment for staff forced to spend long stretches off work due to the condition.

Party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “[A total of] 173,000 Scots are suffering from long Covid, but when it comes to care and support their government is nowhere to be found.

“The SNP and Greens have ignored their pleas for help and consistently neglected all those whose lives have thrown into disarray by the condition.

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The study has revealed three 'sub-types' of long Covid. Picture: PA

“Rates of long Covid are higher in Scotland than they are in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, so the Government cannot use the excuse that the demand for services is not there.

“The First Minister [Nicola Sturgeon] is devoting twice as much money to her efforts to break up the UK as she is to helping those people suffering long Covid.

“We need to see dedicated clinics across Scotland and a commitment to country-wide access to long Covid physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary rehab.”

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Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane, who also called for dedicated long Covid clinics, said the figures should act as a “wake-up call” for health secretary Humza Yousaf.

“The ONS are clear that long Covid cases are rising in Scotland, on the SNP’s watch, while they are falling south of the border, where specialist clinics are up and running,” he said.

“The SNP health secretary has ignored repeated calls from sufferers and opposition politicians, like myself, to deliver the required funding for specialised long Covid clinics, which are already in operation in England. He can no longer ignore these calls in light of these figures.

“Almost 200,000 Scots are now battling long Covid, and yet GPs are struggling to point patients towards the specialist care they need.

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“The SNP must belatedly act now. As Parliament returns next week, the suffering of long Covid patients must be a top priority for Humza Yousaf.

“He should get behind the proposals I set out more than a year ago for a network of clinics across Scotland.”

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