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Hundreds of thousands of Long Covid sufferers could cripple health service says Denis Naughten

Denis Naughten TD has called on Government to treat long Covid patients with the same urgency as the initial Covid-19 infections.

Image: Shutterstock/Dragana Gordic

ROSCOMMON-GALWAY TD DENIS Naughten has raised concerns that the government isn’t prepared for hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog after contracting C0vid-19.

Antibody testing in blood donors published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) last month shows that approximately  69% of the adult population have had the virus, increasing to 87% in 20 to 29-year-olds.

Naughten points to a Dutch  study recently published in the British medical The Lancet which attributed Long Covid symptoms to 12.7% of patients infected with the virus.

This would indicate that over 330,000 people – one in 15 people in Ireland- are currently suffering from Long Covid.

Professor Jack Lambert, infectious disease consultant at the Mater Hospital, told the Oireachtas Health Committee last month that patients with the condition “act very much like patients who have experienced closed head injuries”. 

Naughten stated today: “The reality is that such a large number of long Covid patients presenting to our health service with complex health conditions will overwhelm our hospitals as we begin to plan for a winter of hospital overcrowding.”

“In addition these services will be put under considerable pressure due to recurring waves of further Covid-19 illness.”

Of the confirmed PCR tests, Dublin had the most out of any county at 493,839, followed by Cork at 168,052 and Galway with 89,517.

“We cannot just sleepwalk into a crisis of chronic illness, which will push people waiting on treatments since before the pandemic even further down already horrendous waiting lists,” Naughten continued.

“We need to see this surge of long Covid patients managed with a co-ordinated response from Government, which based on responses that I have received previously has not been forthcoming.”

As of last week, data from the HSE, HPSC and Central Statistics Office found that Carlow was the county with the most Covid-19 cases per head of population.

With a population of 56,932 and 23,307 cases confirmed by PCR tests, Carlow had 40,938 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Louth with 40,862 per 100,000 and Westmeath with 39,203 per 100,000.

If you’d like to share your story about Long Covid and any treatment you’ve received for it, contact us at  news@thejournal.ie

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