The Long Covid SOS charity called on the Government to stop putting its “head in the sand” and take action to reduce the growing number of long Covid sufferers.
The annual GP Patient Survey polled patients in thousands of practices across England between January and April on various aspects of their health – including 29 in the NHS East Riding of Yorkshire CCG area. Patients were asked if they were still experiencing symptoms more than 12 weeks after they first had Covid-19, that could not be explained by something else. Of the 3,670 respondents in the East Riding, 175 (4.8%) said they had symptoms of long Covid.
Applying this rate to the latest population estimate for the CCG area as a whole means 12,840 people aged 16 and over in the area could be suffering.
Across England, 4.4% of GP patients said they had long Covid symptoms – which can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations – around two million people.
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Long Covid SOS said this rate is higher than estimates by the Office for National Statistics, but it is also possible that many people may not be aware that they have it at all.
The Royal College of GPs said post-Covid syndrome is still a relatively new condition, but the prolonged health effects that some experience can have a terrible impact on their lives.
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the RCGP, said more resources are needed, including good access to appropriate rehabilitation services in the local community, and more staff working in general practice.
The Department of Health and Social Care said more than £50 million has gone to help scientists understand the virus’s long-term debilitating effects, while the NHS has committed £224 million to support people with ongoing symptoms.
A spokesman added: “The best way to protect yourself from Covid is by getting the vaccine, and our world-leading programme has delivered over 150 million jabs.”