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Orkney MSP calls for evidence from long Covid patients

Liam McArthur is urging those with long Covid to share their experiences.

Liam McArthur has called on constituents with long Covid to share their experiences living with the condition.

The Liberal Democrat politician says there is a need to gain a “better understanding” of how many people across the country are suffering long-term symptoms of the virus.

The call follows a recent announcement by NHS England that 15 specialist long Covid paediatric hubs are set up for children and young people.

More than 80 dedicated long Covid clinics for adults have been set up south of the border, following a £34m commitment by NHS England.

Sufferers in the north-east have been among those who have called for Scotland to follow the example of England and set up its own clinics.

‘We need a better understanding’

Mr McArthur said anyone suffering from long-Covid should contact their GP in the first instance.

He added: “This pandemic is going to cast a shadow over our lives for some time to come, but those suffering from long-Covid face specific challenges on a day-to-day basis.

“We need a better understanding of how many people in Orkney and across the country are in this situation.

“This can then inform decisions over the medical and other assistance that is required.

This pandemic is going to cast a shadow over our lives for some time to come.

Liam McArthur, Liberal Democrat MSP

“Of course, isles patients often have to endure long and arduous journeys to access specialist healthcare on the Scottish mainland.

“We need to ensure that appropriate assistance for long-Covid is available here in Orkney.

“For that to happen, it will be important that there is an understanding of the level of local need.”

Nicola Sturgeon covid update
Nicola Sturgeon says there is still a “lack of understanding” around long Covid.

Speaking in Holyrood earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had discussed the issue of specialist clinics “in-depth” with National Clinical Director Jason Leitch and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith.

However, she told MSPs there is “still a lack of understanding about exactly what specialisms are needed to respond to long Covid”.

The Scottish Government is instead funding a number of research projects to develop understanding of the virus.

However, those suffering from long Covid have said setting up the dedicated clinics would actually help gain more understanding into the condition and how it should be treated.

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