A north-east MP says he is “disappointed and angered” the Scottish Government has yet to establish dedicated long Covid clinics.
Andrew Bowie, who represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, wrote to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf urging the Scottish Government to follow NHS England in launching the specialist facilities.
It comes after funding was allocated to create 15 new paediatric hubs for children and young people south of the border.
However, a written response from Lynne Nicol, deputy director of healthcare quality and improvement at the Scottish Government, on behalf of Mr Yousaf, said the approach in Scotland continues to be accessing support via an individual’s GP.
Helen Goss, from Westhill, Aberdeenshire, whose daughter Anna, eight, has missed the last year of school due to long Covid symptoms, said the current approach in Scotland is “not working” and has backed calls for dedicated clinics.
‘Parents at breaking point’
Mr Bowie criticised the Scottish Government for failing to establish specialist clinics in Scotland for either adults or children.
The Conservative MP said: “Long Covid among children is fast becoming the silent illness of Scotland with youngsters being left at the back of the treatment queue.
“Parents have told me they are now at breaking point over the lack of help they are getting for this devastating condition.
“The SNP government are gambling with our children’s health by not setting up clinics to deal with the illness which will only get worse without proper support.
“I will continue to do everything I can to make sure our future generation have a voice for long Covid support.”
Ms Goss said families are struggling to access healthcare services for their children who suffer “chronic and debilitating symptoms every day”.
Her daughter Anna missed most of the last school year after experiencing a range of daily symptoms including fatigue, migraines and severe stomach pain.
The mum-of-one added: “There are children from the first wave who have now been ill for over a year who have yet to return to their previous state of health.
“Some have worsening symptoms and are not getting better.
“Long Covid requires a multi-disciplinary healthcare team approach. Scotland must follow England’s lead in the creation of long Covid clinics where there can be dedicated specialists from multiple disciplines in one centralised place.
“This would not only relieve pressure on struggling primary care services but mean that children could access support and treatment for symptoms much faster and reduce the requirement to attend many different appointments in many different locations spread out over a long period of time.”
‘Relatively new illness’
In the letter to Mr Bowie, Ms Nicol said the Scottish Government is “committed to improving our understanding of what is still a relatively new illness”.
She added: “We are keeping all aspects under review, including specialist services, to ensure people suffering from long Covid receive the best possible care and support.
“To support this, the Scottish Government is investing around £2.5 million in a portfolio of nine Scottish-led research projects to improve our understanding of the long-term effects of Covid-19 on physical and mental health and wellbeing in Scotland, and help with developing effective clinical interventions to support recovery and rehabilitation.”