By Jim Bell
The Scottish Conservatives have today warned Humza Yousaf to stop ‘dithering’ and act now, after new figures showed the number of Long Covid cases is rising in Scotland and falling in England.
The party are demanding that the SNP Health Secretary, right, belatedly follows their calls to set up a network of specialist clinics across Scotland after the Office for National Statistics estimated 199,000 people in Scotland are now suffering with Long Covid.
This upper estimate figure represents an 18% rise on the 169,000 patients in Scotland believed to be suffering from the condition three months earlier.
In contrast, in England – where specialist Long Covid clinics are in operation – according to upper estimates, the number of cases has dropped 17% from 1,733,000 to 1,445,000 over the same period.
Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane has been urging the SNP Government to introduce Long Covid clinics for over a year, to give GPs – such as himself – a clearer pathway for getting patients the help they need to treat the debilitating condition.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said:“These alarming figures must act as a wake-up call to Humza Yousaf to stop dithering and act now.
“The ONS are clear that Long Covid cases are rising in Scotland, on the SNP’s watch, while they are falling south of the border, where specialist clinics are up and running.
“The SNP Health Secretary has ignored repeated calls from sufferers and opposition politicians, like myself, to deliver the required funding for specialised Long Covid clinics, which are already in operation in England. He can no longer ignore these calls in light of these figures.
“Almost 200,000 Scots are now battling Long Covid , and yet GPs are struggling to point patients towards the specialist care they need.
“The SNP must belatedly act now. As Parliament returns, the suffering of Long Covid patients must be a top priority for Humza Yousaf.
“He should get behind the proposals I set out more than a year ago for a network of clinics across Scotland.”