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Labour accuses Scottish Government of long Covid ‘betrayal’

Jackie Baillie said the level of funding to support long Covid patients in Scotland is ‘scandalous’ (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)
Jackie Baillie said the level of funding to support long Covid patients in Scotland is ‘scandalous’ (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Scottish Labour has accused the Scottish Government of “betrayal” towards long Covid patients due to the amount of funding made available to tackle the illness.

The party’s health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said the promise of a £10 million long Covid support fund spread over the next three years is “scandalous”, pointing to the UK Government’s allocation of £224 million to support assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

NHS England is set to deliver £90 million of funding for the year 2022/23.

Ms Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, said: “We know that thousands of Scots are living with long Covid and we have heard heart-breaking testimony from young people who have had their lives torn apart by this condition.

“GPs are just operating a revolving door where they try and refer people on but it ends up that they’re back at square one. Health boards were told to apply for funding but many have got a fraction of the funding that they need.

“It is simply scandalous that this SNP Government has failed to match the level of support for long Covid sufferers in the rest of the UK.”

A spokesperson from Long Covid Scotland said: “Long Covid Scotland fully supports Scottish health boards in developing and delivering a clear clinical pathway for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with long Covid.

“However, it is clear that the current level of identified Scottish Government funding will not be enough.

“Long Covid Scotland continues to urge Scottish Government to appropriately support and fund health and social care in Scotland to provide accessible, appropriate and meaningful care and support for all adults, children and young people in Scotland living with long Covid.”

A spokesperson from Long Covid Kids added: “Sadly, families new to our support services in 2022 report facing similar difficulties accessing health and social care as those who sought care and support in 2020.

“With increasing numbers in our support services, it is clear that this is an ongoing and escalating situation that requires urgent action.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have established a long COVID Strategic network bringing together clinical experts, NHS Boards, third sector organisations and those with lived experience to guide how we plan and design care and ensure our £10 million long Covid Support Fund is targeted at the areas where additional support can make the biggest difference.

“We recognise the impact that long Covid can have on peoples’ health and wellbeing. Given the range of symptoms which can be involved, we know there’s no one-size fits all response and our approach is to support people with long COVID to access care and support in a setting that is appropriate and as close to their home as practicable.”