Increase in Scots living with long term effects of Long Covid 03 February 2022 Dr Amy Small has been living with Long Covid since April 2020. _ New estimates from the Office of National Statistics show that more Scots than ever before (40,000) have been living with Long Covid for longer than 12 months – up 3,000 on last month’s figures. Figures also suggest that 24% say their daily lives had been “affected a lot” – the highest level in the UK. In 2021, the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland launched its Long Covid Support Service, jointly funded by the Scottish Government, offering people support in living with some of the most common symptoms like breathlessness, fatigue and impact on mental wellbeing. Yet almost a year on, GPs and a number of Health Boards are still unable to refer people directly to the service because referral systems aren’t integrated. Today we are appealing for the Cabinet Secretary to step in and help to put in place automatic referral systems across the country so that sufferers don’t miss out on vital support like our Long Covid Support Service. "Long Covid is causing lasting harm to thousands of people living with debilitating symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, and chest pain. They desperately need support," explains Jane-Claire Jusdson, CEO of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. "We still hear all too often from people who struggle to get help. It’s been almost two years since the start of the pandemic and we’re still not getting this system right. It just isn’t joined up – and it needs to be fixed. "For example, our Long Covid Support Service is there to help people living with the most common symptoms, but as it stands GPs can’t refer to the service automatically. "It’s a missed opportunity to create the wraparound service people with Long Covid say they need – and we’re appealing for the Cabinet Secretary to help make urgent improvements." Dr Amy Small, a GP who has been living with Long Covid since April 2020, agrees that more action is needed to help people who are living with the condition. "There are so many people who are simply not getting the help they desperately need," Dr Amy Small adds. "Long Covid hits hard and can turn your life upside down. On top of that you feel like you are constantly pushing to be understood and get the tests and support you need. "We really need an integrated, joined up system. If people need help managing their condition right now they should call the Long Covid Advice Line but the fact is we need to do so much more to help the thousands of Scots affected over the longer term." If you are living with Long Covid and looking for advice and information, please contact Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Long Covid Advice Line on 0808 801 0899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.