Health leaders welcome Long Covid Action Plan but further detail needed

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, responds to NHS England's Long Covid Action Plan.

28 July 2022

Responding to NHS England's Long Covid Action Plan, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:

“Health leaders are very aware that Covid-19 is far from a flash in the pan illness and for many people, it can have a devastating impact on their lives long after the first symptoms. 

“Not only does this place additional pressure on already stretched NHS services but the Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that it costs £1.5 billion a year in lost earnings and when people are out of work, this can then affect their health and wellbeing further.

“This is why it is so important that the NHS has a plan on how these people will be supported in the community, backed by additional investment. We look forward to seeing the detail of this.

"Already our members have described referrals to Long Covid clinics as being swamped by demand so with waves continuing, they are worried about how their teams will be able to keep up and ensure people aren’t left waiting after their initial referral.

“In the face of a workforce crisis and huge ambitions to clear the waiting lists, health leaders will be wondering how staffing these specialist clinics can be sustained, particularly as frontline workers are at an increased risk of getting the virus themselves and there have been warnings of a triple threat of Covid, flu and norovirus this winter.

“They will do everything they can but the best thing the public can do is to follow the important public health advice on minimising the risk of catching Covid.”