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Buzz News Post > £760,000 funding for Long Covid support services
The Buzz > £760,000 funding for Long Covid support services

£760,000 funding for Long Covid support services

A massive £760,000 funding package will take the “vital first step” towards creating a coordinated nationwide approach in caring for people with Long Covid.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and the Scottish Government say the package will boost capacity for the charity’s support services.

Thanks to the generosity of corporate funders and trusts, the charity is providing £300,000 of the total funding with the rest from the Scottish Government.

Long Covid Care Now

The investment in the lifeline service follows Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Long Covid Care Now campaign, in which people sent thousands of emails to MSPs urging action to offer better care for people with the condition.

Long Covid is a complex condition in which sufferers experience symptoms ranging from breathlessness to chronic
fatigue, anxiety and stress.

Estimates suggest as many as 10 percent of people in Scotland who have had Covid-19 are now living with Long Covid. Research by King’s College London suggests Long Covid affects around 10 percent of 18-49-year-olds, rising to a fifth (22 percent) of all over 70s.

The new funding package will also lead to the creation of a coordinated nationwide care pathway between the NHS, GPs and Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

For Long Covid sufferer Sandra Potter, a new coordinated approach to care cannot come quickly enough, and she welcomed the news of the funding.

Sandra, 72, of Broxburn in West Lothian, contracted Covid-19 in March 2020 and, a year on, is suffering the effects of Long Covid. She said: “I am so pleased someone is finally listening to us. I saw a doctor in June, 13 weeks after I first got Covid, and she apologised because she couldn’t do anything for me.

“Covid was all too new for them. She said to me ‘just take it easy and try to recover’.

“Well, I’m trying, but I’m still not feeling any better and I know there are lots of people like me. I’ve still got a cough and breathlessness. I do deep breathing exercises by the open window every morning because I wake up with such bad congestion.

“I also feel terrible fatigue – I sleep for two hours every afternoon because I don’t have the energy to stay awake. I’ve even lost my singing voice. Ok, it wasn’t much of a singing voice, but it was mine!

“It is a relief to hear that Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is taking this seriously. It gives me hope there might be a recovery for us all.”

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has already set up an advice line to help those with Long Covid, which is available on 0808 801 0899.

“This funding will make sure that people can now get better support and do not suffer alone”

Over the coming months, the charity’s services will become a routine part of the NHS referral system. This means GPs and health professionals will automatically be able to refer patients to the service for help.

For Long Covid sufferer Pam Lawson, of Ratho near Edinburgh, support for those in her situation is absolutely crucial.

The 48-year-old computer analyst developed Covid-19 in April 2020 and seemed to recover quickly before a worrying relapse. Today Pam is living with chronic headaches, speech problems and fatigue. But she’s upbeat about
her recovery and says every improvement is a boost.

She said: “People with Long Covid need information, and they urgently need this service to give them support. I wish it had been there for me last summer, but I am delighted it is here for everyone now.”

Other areas where those affected by Long Covid have identified gaps in their care include the need for better training for health professionals, access to tests and rehabilitation. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is in discussions with the Scottish Government on how to take this forward.

A vital first step

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “No one should be left to struggle with Long Covid alone. This joint funding package with the Scottish Government is a vital first step in providing better
all-round care for people suffering the debilitating long-term effects of this devastating virus.

“There are a number of steps still to take to get to a fully integrated, nationwide service for Long Covid, but this funding will make sure that people can now get better support and do not suffer alone.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring those suffering from the effects of the virus have nationwide and coordinated care, and she said the experience of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland was vital in the project.

Ms Freeman added: “There is still much to learn and a great deal to be done. But we are working hard to make sure people can access the services currently available and that we make the improvements needed as quickly as possible.

Dr Amy Small is a GP who has been living with Long Covid. She said: “The impact of this virus affects your whole life. I lost the job that I loved because I wasn’t well enough to continue, I lost my health and it really affects you
mentally.

“There’s lots we still need to fix, but it’s great to see everyone is coming together to build the service people with Long Covid need and want.”

Our Advice Line is available now on 0808 801 0899. You can also find further information on Long Covid at
chss.org.uk/longcovid

Demand for our services has almost doubled. Because of the pandemic we are losing money.

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