More than 21,000 adults are unable to work due to the effects of Long Covid.
D Denis Naughten said an estimated 21,459 adults are unable to work due to the long-term effects of the disease and the government needs to ensure they have access to the medical care they need.
That figure represents around 0.8 per cent of Irish workers who are unable to work three months after their first bout of Covid-19.
Mr Naughten analyzed the number of people claiming the Covid Enhanced Illness Benefit payment from the Department for Social Protection to calculate the number and said the figures are based on the only nationally collected Long Covid figures in Ireland.
Its figures show that Dublin has the highest number of adults with long-term effects of Covid-19 such that they are unable to work, at 6,419 people, with County Leitrim at the other end of the scale with 132 adults.
By population, however, Co Carlow has the most adults disabled due to long Covid at 303, while its neighbors in Co Wicklow have the lowest incidence of long Covid by population at 551, closely followed by County Wexford at 580 adults.
“These patients who are trying to access medical care are likely to have had Covid for so long that they are unable to work.
“This is despite promises since September last year that the HSE would introduce a treatment pathway,” Mr Naughten said.
Symptoms of long Covid include fatigue and brain fog appearing for extended periods of at least three months after initial infection, in some cases two years.
Professor Jack Lambert of Mater Hospital told the Oireachtas Health Committee earlier this year that patients with the condition “behave very similarly to patients who have sustained closed head injuries.”
The World Health Organization has long defined Covid as a condition occurring in people with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually three months after the onset of Covid-19, with symptoms lasting at least two months and not can be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
These effects appear to occur regardless of the initial severity of Covid infection, but are more common in women, middle-aged and those with more symptoms initially.
“Last September, after I questioned the Secretary of Health on the issue of treating long-Covid patients, the HSE said they were planning to set up specialist long-Covid clinics, but today we are still waiting for these to become operational be taken.
“Long Covid patients presenting to our health service with complex health conditions will overwhelm our hospitals, which are already struggling with winter overcrowding.
“We cannot just sleepwalk into a chronic disease crisis that will push people who were already on waiting lists for treatment before the pandemic even further down those horrific waiting lists.
“As a result, the regional group of TDs will seek a government commitment in the Dáil this Wednesday to ensure long Covid services are rolled out immediately across the country,” Naughten said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/more-than-21000-unable-to-work-as-result-of-long-covid-tds-analysis-finds-42124360.html Long Covid Ireland: More than 21,000 people unable to work is the result of analysis by Long Covid, TD