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More than 72,000 people could have long Covid-19 in region

More than 72,000 people in the Black Country and parts of Staffordshire could be suffering with long Covid symptoms, according to estimates.

Patients in the region were amongst thousands polled in practices across England between January and April on various aspects of their health.

The study found that 875 out of 16,761 in the Black Country – above five per cent – had long Covid symptoms, with 223 out of 5,871 across Staffordshire overall.

The figures included the Cannock Chase rate at around four per cent, Stafford at the same rate, and Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula at three per cent.

When the rate is applied to the latest population estimate for each area, it suggests 72,722 people aged 16 and over could have long Covid in the region.

The Long Covid SOS charity called on the Government to stop putting its "head in the sand" and take action to reduce the growing number of long Covid sufferers.

Across England, just over four per cent said they had long Covid symptoms, which can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations – around two million people.

Ondine Sherwood, co-founder of the charity, said most sufferers are unable to obtain any meaningful treatment, and for many even that is not available due to lengthy waiting lists.

She added: "The Government needs to acknowledge that this is a major issue impacting a significant proportion of the population and that it will lead to a massive burden of ill health on the NHS, on society and the economy.

"The Government needs to stop putting its head in the sand and start to act."

She said stricter infection control measures, more healthcare investment and increased research funding are needed.

The Royal College of GPs said post-Covid syndrome is still a relatively new condition, but the prolonged health effects that some experience can have a terrible impact on their lives.

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the RCGP, said more resources are needed, including good access to appropriate rehabilitation services in the local community and more staff working in general practice.

He is calling on the Government to address the "intense workforce shortages" and help deliver care to the increasing number of patients with long Covid.

The Department of Health and Social Care said more than £50 million has gone to help scientists understand the virus's long-term debilitating effects, while the NHS has committed £224 million to support people with ongoing symptoms.

A spokesman added: “The best way to protect yourself from Covid is by getting the vaccine, and our world-leading programme has delivered over 150 million jabs.”

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