Nursing leaders warn of 'inadequate' care for long Covid sufferers

The Royal College of Nursing says action is needed to help those struggling with long Covid.

Play icon STV News

A postcode lottery in care means services for Scots suffering from long Covid are “woefully inadequate” – that’s the stark warning from nurses’ leaders.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) say urgent action is needed to help those struggling from the condition – including children.

It comes as support groups in Scotland repeat their call for specialist clinics and more research.

STV News has been meeting some of those in Aberdeen whose lives have changed drastically since developing long Covid.

Helen Goss’s nine-year-old daughter, Anna Hendy, used to love horse riding and playing with her friends, but long Covid means now she can barely get out of her bed in the morning.

Instead of going to school and doing all the fun things other children her age do, she is confined to the sofa – all day, every day.

Her mother Helen says long Covid has destroyed her daughter’s life.

Anna now has to use a wheelchair as she can barely walk any distance.
Anna now has to use a wheelchair as she can barely walk any distance.

She told STV News: “There’s really very little that she can do. She can barely walk any distance any more, and she has to use a wheelchair.

“She is just left at home, sitting here with no support. I’m desperately trying to find some support, there just isn’t any available.”

Life has also changed completely for long Covid sufferer Kate Stott, an award-winning businesswoman with three children, who contracted coronavirus in March 2020.

“I find it really hard to convey how disabling it is – words are not enough,” she said.

“Life hasn’t been the same since, since last summer I haven’t been able to work, I haven’t been able to leave the house much, I can’t stand on my legs for too long, I now use crutches.”

“It is completely inhumane on how we are treating long Covid sufferers in Scotland at the moment – we have nowhere to go, no support network in terms of being able to seek specialist advice, let alone treatment.”

Mother-of-three Kate Stott contracted the virus in March 2020.
Mother-of-three Kate Stott contracted the virus in March 2020.

A lack of specialist clinics for those with long Covid is being highlighted by the Royal College of Nursing,

It says those with the condition face a postcode lottery in care and services are “woefully inadequate”.

“There are ninety clinics dedicated in England, there’s no services in Wales or Scotland, and one clinic in Northern Ireland, so across the UK we just do not have the provision,” said Helen Donovan from the RCN.

“But what we’re really calling for is some proper research and investigation into what’s needed, because this really is a long-term condition, and it’s something that we really need to know how to tackle.”

The Scottish Government says given the range of long Covid symptoms, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ response.

It says services and support are already being provided for those with long covid, including a £10m support fund, allowing NHS boards to include a long Covid clinic, if appropriate.

Helen now heads up the Scottish branch of the charity, Long Covid Kids, which aims to raise awareness about the condition in children, and campaign for more support.  

“It’s these individual stories that I hear every day from families, they just break your heart,” she said.

“These kids are so unwell, and yet nobody is hearing from them, no-one is hearing about them, and no-one is helping them.”