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Long Covid: Hundreds of key workers tell inquiry of struggles to return to work

MORE than 450 key workers with long Covid have told MPs about their struggles to return to work and the lack of financial support available, with one in 10 having lost their job.

Nurses, teachers, GPs, police officers and midwives have shared their experiences of the poorly understood postviral health condition, symptoms of which include debilitating fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, sleeping difficulties and brain fog.

A fifth of the 460 key workers who responded to the call for evidence by the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said they had been off work for a year or more as a result of developing the illness.

Official statistics suggest more than two million adults in England may have experienced long Covid, described as symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks. There are fears that last week’s lifting of restrictions could see thousands more cases develop each day.

One 50-year-old GP said she was removed from her practice, where she had been a partner since 2002, after being unable to return to work due to brain fog.

“I’m absolutely hopeless: my brain doesn’t work properly at the moment, and so I am not safe making decisions about other people,” she said.

Like others, she believes she caught coronavirus at work after being told not to wear personal protective equipment unless someone had symptoms.

The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists have backed calls from the all-party parliamentary group, which meets again today, to set up a compensation scheme to support key workers unable to return to work after developing long Covid.

Group chairwoman Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said the condition has “devastated lives and ruined careers.

“It is morally indefensible that key workers who got long Covid on the front line of the pandemic are being abandoned without proper financial support.

“These nurses, doctors and other brave employees looked after us all during the darkest days of the pandemic. Now it is the government’s turn to look after them,” she said.

A government spokesperson said ministers had invested £134 million into long Covid support in England, which includes opening more than 80 specialist assessment services to better understand the condition.

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

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