Lords debates Long Covid
22 November 2022
On Thursday 17 November, members of the House of Lords debated the short and long term challenges presented by Long Covid.
Baroness Thornton (Labour), Non-executive Director, Whittington Health Hospital Trust, put forward the debate.
This was a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.
Members speaking in the debate included:
- Baroness Brinton (Liberal Democrat), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health
- Baroness Pitkeathley (Labour), Vice President, Carers UK
- Baroness Watkins of Tavistock (Crossbench), nurse and a Professor of Nursing
- Lord Bethell (Conservative), Health Minister during the COVID-19 pandemic
Members raised the urgent matter of how to support employees with Long Covid, and calling for guidelines for employers.
It is estimated around two million people are reporting some or many of the range of Long Covid symptoms. Members referred to statistics showing that 75,000 people are economically inactive due to Long Covid and the cost is almost £1.5 billion in lost earnings a year.
Members stressed it is crucial that prevalence data is collected, and pressed the government to continue funding for Long Covid research.
Members urged the government for more support for healthcare professionals so they can better understand the variable symptoms and pathways for supporting people with Long Covid.
Members drew attention to Long Covid sufferers who feel isolated in the search for treatment and patients who have had their condition ignored or ridiculed. They praised the vocal testimonies and mutual support of patient groups campaigning on Long Covid.
Members said Long Covid represents a substantial, ongoing, chronic burden of disease and cautioned about the potential impact on the way in which the NHS is able to deliver healthcare. They raised concern about the 199,000 NHS staff living with Long Covid, urging the government to support healthcare professionals more.
Lord Markham (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Care, responded on behalf of the government. He acknowledged the complexity of Long Covid and committed that the £50 million for research is protected.
Watch and read the debate
Catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.
Explore background information
Find out more about the issues the debate covers in the House of Lords Library briefing.
Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.
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