Long Covid: Over 200 treated at Derry clinic - MLA

SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has called for more research to be undertaken into long Covid after it was revealed that more than 200 people received treatment for the illness at the specialist clinic in Gransha Park.

Earlier this summer, the Derry Journal reported how there were over 200 people waiting to be seen for assessment for post-COVID syndrome in the Western Trust by the start of June.

The Health Minister Robin Swann at that stage had told Sinn Féin MLA Maolíosa McHugh that multidisciplinary assessment clinics for long COVID commenced in the Western Trust in early March 2022.

“The services available comprise of an initial assessment and then patients may be allocated to Speech and Language Therapy, dietetics, psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and respiratory services for either a more specific assessment or intervention.”

Sineád McLaughlin, Foyle SDLP MLA.

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As of June 6, a total of 153 patients had received their initial multidisciplinary assessment in the west.

Two months on, Ms McLaughlin said yesterday that as of now over 200 have received treatment in Derry.

Ms. McLaughlin said: “We have all heard or experienced how debilitating long Covid can be for many people who unfortunately contract the disease.

“The symptoms can greatly impact a patient’s quality of life and leave many people less able to manage daily tasks.

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The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) is now offering a new dedicated assessment and treatment service for people with post COVID-19 syndrome.

“These statistics remind us all that the virus is still prevalent, and we all must take appropriate steps to protect ourselves and our families as the consequences can be severe.

“It is also particularly concerning that more than 142 people were still on a waiting list for an appointment at the end of June and that the average waiting time is around four months.

“This clearly shows the demand for the service in the Waterside Hospital.

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“As we move forward, more research into long Covid will hopefully afford those afflicted new strategies on how to reduce its impact on their lives.”

Last month, Derry GP and BMA NI Council chair Dr Tom Black said that around one in 17 people here were expected to have COVID.

He said: “Most of us will now know a least one person who has had it or we will have had it ourselves.

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Long Covid is ‘extremely debilitating’: Derry GP

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“There are new variants emerging all the time, so it appears that we are going to be dealing with different variants for some time to come as the virus mutates.”