How will Irish health system handle long term effects of #COVID19 “Long Covid” – asks @ColmBurkeTD

30 December 2020
By Mary Bermingham

A clear strategy is needed to manage and support patients suffering the long-term effects of Covid-19, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Colm Burke, Fine Gael’s Health spokesperson, said, “Concerns have been raised by medical professionals and the WHO over prevalent numbers of people of all ages who are suffering complications to their health due to their Covid diagnosis, a condition that has been referred to as ‘Long Covid’.

“These complications range from cough and shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, palpitations, chest pain, physical limitations, depression, and insomnia.

“In the US, a survey of symptomatic adults who had a positive test result for Covid found that 35% had not returned to their usual state of health when interviewed 2–3 weeks after testing.

“Among those 18 to 34 years in good health, 20% reported that some symptoms were prolonged, according to a study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The NHS in the UK recently announced the launch of 40 Long Covid Clinics to treat patients, where research is being carried out. More recent evidence is showing that Long Covid can be categorised into four different syndromes: post intensive care syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage and long term Covid syndrome.

“I believe that these patients should have access to the care they need in a timely manner, including rehabilitation and mental health support services.

“The HSE has confirmed to me that specific guidance on what has been referred to as the “long-tail” of Covid-19 is presently under development both here and internationally.

“People who have had Covid-19 are being followed up by their doctors as appropriate-this is usually their GP, and in the case of those who required hospitalisation and/or ITU admission, this is hospital-based.

“It also said that longer term observational studies will be required to understand the health consequences presently being attributed to post COVID-19 infection. Work has been undertaken internationally and in the UK.

“The HSE also confirmed to me that guidance will be developed to align needs with care provision and to develop criteria and strategies for the ongoing evaluation of patients, which I believe is vitally important.

Colm Burke is a Cork North Central TD

“The first delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine was received by the HSE on December 26th, and starting from yesterday, the first vaccines in Ireland were given to staff and patients at 4 acute hospital sites.

“This is welcome and positive news after what has been such a difficult year for our people. We also must ensure that those who are suffering from complications after their Covid diagnosis are supported,” Deputy Burke concluded.

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