Galway-Roscommon TD Denis Naughten has criticised the HSE for being in the ‘planning stage’ of assessing the scale of Long Covid, despite up to 300,000 people suffering from its impact.
The Independent TD said that the HSE is only now planning an epidemiological survey to get an insight into and an understanding of Long Covid.
He described the HSE’s actions as ‘far too slow’, because “there is no doubt that there are thousands of people suffering from Long Covid.”
These people, he said, have been placed on waiting lists, adding to the huge delays in accessing hospital and outpatient appointments already.
“Officially there are over 1.5 million PCR confirmed Covid-19 cases which could leave up to 300,000 people suffering from Long Covid with many more people with a Covid infection who never had it verified by a PCR test,” said Deputy Naughten.
“The World Health Organisation has defined Long Covid as a condition that occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
“These effects appear to occur irrespective of the initial severity of the covid infection but occur more frequently in women, middle age and in those with more symptoms initially.”
Last September after Deputy Naughten questioned the Health Minister on the issue of treatment for Long Covid patients, he said that the HSE’s response was that it planned to establish specialist long Covid clinics,
“Today we are still waiting for this to happen,” he said.
“This is not only delaying treatments for these patients but pushing other patients waiting to see doctors further down the waiting list.
“Such an approach is causing chaos to our hospital waiting list and denying patients the vital and timely care that they need which cannot be allowed to continue.”