Posted: Tue 8th Feb 2022

The lack of long Covid clinics in Wales is forcing people to pay for private medical care, says Plaid Cymru

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 8th, 2022

Long Covid treatment shouldn’t be the preserve of the rich Plaid Cymru has said, as some suffers are being forced to pay for private medical care.

Long-covid is defined as covid-19 symptoms, which persist for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

It affects more than 60,000 people in Wales with around 26,000 still having symptoms more than a year after getting coronavirus.

The Welsh government has said that a £5m Adferiad programme set up to diagnose, rehabilitate and support those suffering from long-Covid in has been accessed by more than 2,200 people across Wales.

But Plaid Cymru has called for an “end to a piecemeal approach that is forcing long COVID patients to go private.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on health and care, has renewed his party’s calls for specialist long COVID clinics.

The lack of clinics in Wales is forcing many people to pay for private medical care.

When this was raised recently in Questions to the First Minister (25 January 2022) Mark Drakeford replied “I don’t have the evidence that the Member refers to; I don’t know what he means by many people going private.”

Responding to Mark Drakeford, the Long COVID Wales tweeted that “people with debilitating fatigue shouldn’t have to battle to get GP appointments and then battle again to try mostly unsuccessfully to get referred on to specialist care. One stop shop clinics would actually be much easier.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “There are thousands of people in Wales with long term symptoms following COVID – but with the current approach, there’s little certainty in the medical outcomes they can expect.”

“Feedback from the long-COVID cross party group which I co-chair, says that Welsh Government must rethink its approach and set up the specialist teams that patients and medical experts internationally are calling for.”

“We didn’t expect GPs to work in isolation when COVID-19 first arrived, so why does government think this is appropriate now?”

“This piecemeal approach to a serious condition is forcing some patients to go private, which is awful when you consider that long-COVID is more prevalent in people living in more deprived areas. Treatment for long COVID should not be a preserve of the rich.”

The Welsh government has said that “all health boards in Wales provide integrated, multi-professional rehabilitation services for people with long-Covid and refer people to specialist care services wherever needed.”

“Of the 2,431 recorded cases of people with long-Covid via GP systems in Wales, 2,226 have accessed Adferiad (recovery) programme.”

“Every person who seeks help for long-Covid receives a comprehensive assessment of their symptoms so they can be treated for their specific concerns and receive tailored support.”

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said: “In Wales we are committed to ensuring every person suffering from long- Covid receives support and care tailored to their particular needs and symptoms rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, as close to home as possible.

“It’s great to see the results of this review, which show people are receiving the right care they need for them and positive health outcomes are being maximised.

“We know it affects everyone differently. By following the primary care model we have ensured people are treated by the most appropriate specialists for their symptoms. Not everyone suffering from long-Covid will need to see a specialist and this model will stop people waiting a long time for treatment.

“We are still learning about long-Covid and this review will help us improve services further. We will continue to monitor the support required and adapt accordingly as we learn more to ensure services are available to all those who need support.”


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