The Scottish Parliament had a debate on Long Covid and the provisions made for supporting those with the illness. The debate was led by Jackie Baillie and below is her opening statement and you can follow the link to the transcription of the full debate.
Opening statement from Jackie Baillie
In its briefing that was provided prior to the debate, Long Covid Scotland outlined the steps that the Scottish Government must take—they cover everything from data and research to specialist long Covid treatment hubs. I commend Long Covid Scotland’s briefing to whoever is the incoming health secretary and ask that they sit down with Long Covid Scotland and Long Covid Kids Scotland, as the voices of those with lived experience, and come up with a plan for full implementation of their recommendations.
The first area that I will touch on is funding. When £3 million of funding for long Covid was first announced, 74,000 people were reported as having the condition. That number has almost trebled, but the amount of money has remained the same. The services that will help with long Covid also apply to people with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many of the symptoms are similar, so this could be a real opportunity to create tangible change for all those who are living with energy-limiting and fluctuating chronic illnesses in Scotland. I hope that the Government will seize that opportunity.
The £3 million for long Covid treatment was shared among each of the health boards but, to be frank, it was not enough. The response from a freedom of information request that I submitted last year showed that not one health board was awarded all the funding that it believed it needed to treat the condition. Uncertainty around funding levels has created a significant barrier to implementing treatment plans, and the length of time that it took for the Scottish Government to release funds led to delays of over a year for people to access services.