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Long Covid population grows to size of Aberdeen

New figures from the Office of National Statistics estimate that there are now more Scots living with Long Covid than live in Aberdeen. We are calling on the government to do more to support those with the condition.  

204,000 Scots are now living with Long Covid according to new ONS Figures – more people than live in the city of Aberdeen. The stats also show that in October 2022, 75,000 people have been living with Long Covid for more than 12 months.  Nearly three quarters of all Scots who have the condition say it affects their daily lives, including their ability to work and enjoy a good quality of life.

A call for action

At Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS), we are calling on the Scottish Government to make urgent progress to help those in need by:

·       Better integrating NHS and CHSS support services by rolling out the digital referral system being implemented in NHS Lothian, right across the country

·       Providing better training for healthcare professionals

·       Improving capacity across Health Boards to provide quicker and more coordinated diagnostic and treatment pathways.

Allan Cowie, interim chief executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said today:

“Despite most people believing Covid is over, the number of people living with Long Covid has more than doubled in the last year, which is a major public health concern for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has promised to help people with Long Covid but many are still struggling to get a diagnosis, to get back to work and enjoy everyday activities like going for a walk or spending time with their families.

“People who are seeing very little improvement in their health 12 months after getting Covid are scared and need help. There needs to be more urgency on this. Things just aren’t joined up at all.

“We need to see more innovation and joined up thinking like the work NHS Lothian are doing to better connect people with the support they need and this approach needs to be replicated across the country. We need to see more capacity and training to make sure people get quick access to tests and any beneficial treatments.

“People have been living with Long Covid for years now and little progress has been made to build services around their needs. People deserve action.”

CHSS is partnering with NHS Lothian and Pogo Digital Healthcare in the development of a digital service to enable GPs to refer patients directly into the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland service.

Chloe Folta, a sufferer of Long Covid, is pictured against some trees.Chloe 26, a teacher from Penicuik, Midlothian, contracted Covid last December and still deals with debilitating symptoms on a daily basis and has been unable to return to full-time work.

Far from "back to normal"

Chloe Folta is 26 and lives in Penicuik, Midlothian, with her husband. A biology and science teacher at a local secondary school, she became ill with Covid-19 in December 2021 and was referred to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Long Covid Support Service for help in managing her symptoms. Now back in her teaching role on a phased return, Chloe is still dealing with severe brain fog, breathlessness, tiredness and muscle and chest pain.

“I got Covid in late December last year and have never really got better. Twice I went back to work too early and made myself worse. If I’m honest, I’m still not great.

“I was back and forward to my GP because new symptoms kept cropping up. The GP was sympathetic but didn’t really know what to do – I understand that because Covid and Long Covid is still all so new.

“I was referred to CHSS in March. I filled out an online survey that asked what kind of support or help I needed, so I was able to request telephone support. And that was so helpful to me.

“The calls were partly about how I could manage my symptoms, deal with the pain and eventually get back to work, and they were really specific to me, which was great. What was really beneficial was that CHSS gave me advice on how to talk to my doctor about the symptoms.

“I have an Apple watch, so I had seen that my heart rate was a lot higher than before Covid. But every time I saw the doctor, they didn’t see the heart rate as a big issue. Because of the help I’d got from CHSS, I was able to explain properly about my heart rate and eventually I was put on a 24-hour ECG that showed this was a real problem.

“I still suffer from fatigue and muscle and chest pain. Brain fog has been a real issue, too. I was very active before, and it’s been hard to adjust and scale back to doing almost nothing.

“I’m on a phased return to work, going in for full days on Mondays and Tuesdays. But that wipes me out for the rest of the week. The smallest things tire me out, like getting dressed or making breakfast.

“It felt very supportive to speak to someone from CHSS and know that someone understood and was sympathetic to what I was going through. Having this service is a must for people in my situation. We all need that support.”

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


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