Official Long Covid numbers in Midlothian are low but may be higher

Thursday August 26th 2021

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Health chiefs were today warned that medicine and drugs will not help people who are suffering from Long Covid.

A report to Midlothian Integration Joint Board on plans to support people identified with the condition said numbers in the county were low.

It was revealed only 23 people have, to date, been referred to health services with Long Covid.

However health officials warned the number may be much higher and may be affected by people not knowing where to go for help.

And board member Dr Hamish Reid cautioned that even if people are diagnosed GP services were unlikely to be able to provide treatments for the condition.

He said: “It is about peer support, encouragement and psychology. There is probably not a great deal that medicine and drugs have to offer people with Long Covid.

“It is about supporting them through difficult times as they get better on their own. Helping people to help themselves rather than any type of medical treatment.”

Author of the report Debbie Crerar told the board that there was concern they had “missed a trick” when it came to the numbers of people so far referred as having the condition.

And she said there was no clear definition of what Long Covid was.

Her report outlined a range of services which could provide support to sufferers from the community respiratory team to physiotherapy and rehab teams.

It said: “It is widely recognised that whilst most people will fully recover from Covid 19, some people may continue to have long term symptoms following exposure and subsequent diagnosis of the Covid 19 virus.

“These ongoing symptoms may include shortness of breath, fatigue, neurological and musculoskeletal problems.

“Although data on the prevalence of Long Covid is limited an estimated 79,000 people in Scotland were experiencing self-reported Long Covid in the four-week period ending 6 March 2021 and of these 50,000 people had experienced symptoms for over 12 weeks.”

Councillor Derek Milligan, Midlothian council leader, raised concerns that if the national figure was 79,000 the number of cases reported locally was so low.

However Ms Crear said the figures and definition of the condition were changing all the time.

She said: ”We are really mindful of the numbers and if it is because people do not have access to what they need and if we are missing a trick.”

Future reports to the board to update members on the cases and ongoing work are expected.

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