Posted: Wed 26th Jan 2022

Call for specialist long COVID clinics to treat both children and adults in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 26th, 2022

Adam Price MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru has renewed calls for specialist long COVID clinics to be set up for children and adults in Wales.

The lack of clinics is forcing many people to pay for private medical care, which, says Mr Price “would be wrong in any case” but is especially damning given the prevalence of long COVID among people living in more deprived areas.

A recent study by the ONS has found more cases of long COVID in people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in health care, social care, or teaching and education and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.

The point was raised during Questions to the First Minister on Tuesday, to which Mark Drakeford said he was “not convinced” that specialist centres are the right answer for Wales.

Mr Price noted that estimates from around the world suggest that between 10 – 20 per cent of children who contract COVID-19 develop paediatric long COVID, and countered that, if the Welsh Government was not prepared to set up specialist centres for adults, it should at least consider them for children who “deserve nothing less” after the impact of the pandemic on this generation.

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS said,

“60,000 of our people are living with long COVID and not one specialist clinic is available for them in Wales, forcing many to go private.”

“That would be wrong in any case but it’s especially wrong when ONS figures show that long COVID is twice as prevalent among people living in deprived areas.”

“This is why Welsh Government must rethink its approach and set up the specialist clinics that patients and medical experts internationally are calling for.”

“What’s more, we know that international estimates suggest that between 10 and 20 per cent of children who contract COVID-19 develop paediatric long COVID.”

“If the Welsh Government is not prepared to set up specialist clinics for adults it should at least be prepared to do so for children whose entire lives risk being scarred if they do not get fastest possible diagnosis and the best medical advice and treatment based on the latest knowledge.”

“Surely after what this generation of young people have gone through they deserve nothing less?”

First minister Mark Drakeford said that centres set up in England to treat log COVID “are now so overwhelmed by referrals that there are waiting lists as long as long COVID.’

“Simply setting up a centre is by no means guaranteed to provide the solution that patients need.” He said.

“If you’ve got really debilitating fatigue and you’re told that, in order to get treatment, you have to make a long journey from where you live to a specialist centre far away, I’m not certain that that is the best answer to your condition.” Mr Drakeford said.

“The approach we have in Wales is that we want to make sure that our primary care clinicians are as well equipped as they can be to respond to as many people successfully close to their own homes, because of the nature of the condition, and then, where there are people who need a more specialist form of treatment, to be able to provide that through the NHS as well.”

“I’m just not yet convinced that the idea of centres is the right answer for Wales.” He said.

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