This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Postcode lottery of care will exacerbate Long Covid inequalities

Written by: | Published:

Nearly 2 million are thought to have long Covid in Nearly 2 million are thought to have long Covid in the UK

The UK government must invest in nurse-led services and research to support the growing number of long COVID sufferers struggling to access specialist care, the RCN has said.

With an estimated two million people in the UK currently suffering from long COVID, and 71% of those reporting that it is adversely affecting their day-to-day activities, tackling the condition should be an urgent priority for the UK government.

More on this topic

Diagnosis and treatment currently vary hugely from region to region. Although 89 long COVID clinics have been set up around the UK, some patients report waiting months for their first appointment. Services are also recommending contradictory treatments, with some treating long COVID as a physical condition and others as a psychological condition, revealing a lack of research and specialist knowledge.

‘As nursing staff we see first-hand how life-limiting long COVID can be, especially when patients are suffering with complex chronic symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain and brain fog,’ said RCN Professional Lead for Public Health, Helen Donovan.

‘With over two million sufferers there aren’t enough specialist services to meet the growing demand, and the help patients get varies hugely across the country. What’s clear is that the understanding nursing staff have of managing long-term conditions, including pain management, is not being used effectively.

According to the RCN, the government must significantly increase investment in long COVID services and research into the condition to end the postcode lottery and prevent health inequalities worsening. The latest data shows that women, people living in deprived areas, and those working in health and social care are more likely to be suffering from long COVID.

Long COVID symptoms include breathlessness, muscle pain, brain fog and fatigue so debilitating that sufferers can be bedridden for months. Many members of nursing staff are currently suffering from long COVID and must be supported to recover.

‘Some of our patients have really complex physical health problems and their lives have been transformed after COVID,’ said Jo Stucke, a nurse who works in a specialist mental health long COVID clinic in Yorkshire.

‘They may be unable to work, socialise and do things that they previously enjoyed doing, contributing to developing depression and anxiety.’

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.