Families gathered outside the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to deliver handwritten letters from children telling MSPs first-hand how Long-term Covid has devastated their lives.
Long Covid Kids Scotland, which represents and supports children and young people living with the effects of coronavirus, told Health Minister Humza Yousaf, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Labour Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie that ‘enough is enough’.
The group want more resources and a strategy to improve care for the 10,000 children estimated to be living with the illness.
Helen Goss, whose daughter Anna, 9, has been suffering from Long Covid since the first wave two years ago, said: “Most of these kids are not being provided with the health
support that they need. They are denied but need help now. Enough is enough. We urgently need a strategy from the Scottish Government on this. Scotland is seriously
lagging behind. Health boards are not being given the funds to create the services needed.”
A mother from Lanarkshire said her 16-year-old son had been ‘left to rot’. Tracy McMullen said: “Jonathan was a straight A student and now he sleeps 20 hours a day
and is too exhausted to even play his X-box. It’s an uphill battle to access help. Jonathan wanted to be a doctor. Like every parent here today we have to fight for any
real help. Our GP is on side but at a loss and has cried with frustration.
"Jonathan is falling into a black hole. He’s not living. He can’t even play with his sister. It breaks my heart to see him miss out on so much while he tries to cope with being
disabled. Politicians need to listen to us, ask us what we need. Its not this – not what people are being offered now. We’ve been offered physiotherapy and OT but that doesn’t
help. He needs medical interventions. He wants his life back.”
In May, the Scottish Government announced the first £3 million tranche of a £10m fund, which is being allocated to individual health boards over three years to bolster support.
Other Holyrood parties have criticised the lack of commitment to creating a network of specialist clinics like the hubs in England.
Labour health spokesperson Ms Baillie said youngsters affected by long covid “cannot be abandoned”.
“GPs are just operating a revolving door where they try and refer people on but it ends up that they’re back at square one. Health boards were told to apply for funding but many
got a fraction of what they asked for.”
“These kids are suffering. The Scottish Government is not doing enough.”
But Mr Yousaf said his view on introducing specialist clinics in Scotland has not changed. “We’ve put funding into the system but we’ve always had the
approach that health boards should tailor support at a local level. I’ve no objection in principle to specialist clinics.
“But, also, if you look at some of the mounting evidence in England it would suggest they are not as effective as first believed. People can wait months to get seen.
“I think the current approach has to be explored. I promise to look at service provision going forward.”