Some people with long Covid symptoms are having to wait more than four months for treatment, according to a group of MPs.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has urged health secretary Matt Hancock to act after it found some of the long Covid clinics promised by the government had not yet opened. This had created a “shameful postcode lottery” for care, they suggested.
Freedom of Information requests made by the group of MPs found some patients suffering the long-term effects of Covid-19 were waiting as long as 127 days for treatment after being referred to a specialist clinic. Others waited just four days.
It was also critical of the fact that some of the areas the government lists as providing long Covid care did not have facilities up and running, or there were no firm plans to.
Two sites in Scarborough and Rotherham had no clinic operating or planned, while another five trusts had not been able to set them up before the end of March. In Bolton, a long Covid clinic was “on hold”.
More than 60 long Covid clinics, which aim to provide specialist care, were pledged by the government last year.
As of 31 March 2021, 7,835 patients had been referred to long Covid clinics at the 19 trusts which provided data on referrals to the APPG – an average of 412 per trust.
Layla Moran MP, char of the APPG, said that Hancock should personally apologise to the long Covid patients who are having to wait “months on end” for treatment.
“Matt Hancock must come before parliament and clarify why it appears that some long Covid clinics are still not up and running, despite having been promised months ago,” she said.
“These figures expose the shameful postcode lottery of care facing those suffering with long Covid.”
Last month, an employment law specialist warned that organisations may need to treat those with long Covid as if they have a disability and make adjustments on a case-by-case basis.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that 1.1 million people in the UK are living with long Covid. Some 674,000 said this affected their everyday life and almost 196,000 said it affected their day-to-day activities a lot.