£2m. over two years for ‘long Covid’ not enough

A retired school principal from Derry says a proposed £2 million over two years isn’t anywhere near enough to support those suffering from ‘long Covid’ in NI.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:12 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:24 pm
Nick Tomlinson.

Nick Tomlinson who is currently battling ‘long Covid’, was responding to reports that NI Health Minister Robin Swann is hoping to secure around £2m to fund such services in the North.

Long Covid - or Post Covid-19 Syndrome - is the name given to describe a range of symptoms still experienced by people more than 12 weeks after they had coronavirus.

Mr Swann said the health board recently submitted proposals to the Department of Health for multi-disciplinary services and he asked his officials to consider them “urgently”.

Nick Tomlinson developed blinding headaches, body aches and exhaustion after contracting Covid-19 in October 2020. Seven months later, he still has many of these symptoms and is concerned for his long-term health.

He says any money to support those suffering with long Covid must be welcomed but insists the amount of finance should depend on the projected number of sufferers.

“£2 million may sound like a lot over the next two years, but I fear that the number of people with long Covid symptoms may mean that £2m. is inadequate,” he said. “Have the Department of Health gathered statistics and projections in relation to this or is Mr Swann simply plucking a number from the air?

“I hope that, based on projections of the number of sufferers and an understanding of the nature of the condition, the Department develop a clear plan of action showing how the money will be used.”

Mr Tomlinson says NI requires services that “understand and respond to the full range of long Covid symptoms, rather than the current fragmented approach.”

“I hope this is the first £2m. and not the only £2m. as the fight against the legacy of Covid 19 has a long way to go,” the former Groarty PS head said.