The campaign to beat the pandemic

Press release Why is the UK so sick?

10 May 2024 / Terry Conway


New ONS Long Covid prevalence data for England & Scotland estimates 
2 million people with Long Covid

The new ONS data shows that in just 4 months, in England and Scotland, the number of people with Long Covid has increased by 9.9% to 2m. That’s approximately 1 in every 32 people.

Of those 2m people, 1.5m have their activities “adversely limited” by Long Covid, an increase of 179,000 (12%). That’s 1 in 42 people.

Of those 1.5m people, 381,000 have their activities limited “a lot” by Long Covid, an increase of 60,000 (19%). That’s 1 in 164 people.

Two leading UK Long Covid charities  – Long Covid Support and Long Covid SOS – and the pressure group Covid Action are calling for urgent investment into NHS services and treatment, research, and workplace support for Long Covid.

Our government consistently fails to consider Long Covid when discussing the long-term health of the country and the growing number of people who are either economically inactive or have had to reduce their economic activity (e.g. being forced to work fewer hours).

With the overall number of people out of the workforce on health grounds surging since the beginning of the pandemic, we must urgently investigate the contribution that Covid-19 and Long Covid have made to the numbers who are economically inactive or have reduced economic activity.

Our government is failing to assess the number of people on NHS waiting lists because of Long Covid or waiting for tests to exclude Long Covid. In many cases one person will have multiple referrals. Long Covid is having financial and resource implications for the NHS, due to both healthcare consumption and the loss of valuable staff who became disabled with Long Covid while working during the pandemic.  

Prof Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London., commented: “This data confirms what we are already seeing in the patient community – that far from being a remnant of the pandemic peak, Long Covid is in fact increasing, as the rate at which people develop this illness outstrips those recovering from it.

“This is not surprising, given the lack of awareness and investment in this condition. Four years on from the pandemic we are still failing these patients. This is a global health crisis and it is not getting the attention it demands.  

“What we’re calling on today is a serious investment plan from the Government. We need to take this issue seriously, beginning with regular impact assessments on the toll this is taking on the population, and the wider economy. Then we need radical investment into treatments to ease the suffering and allow patients to live a fulfilling life.”

The ONS study launched on 25th March 2024 is here 2024 Winter Infection Study 

Expert contact details

Dr. Rae Duncan MBChB, BSc (Hons), MSc, MD, FRCP, BSE, TTE.

Dr Duncan is a Consultant Cardiologist with a special interest in treating Long Covid and the cardiovascular complications of Covid. She has advised the UK Government on long Covid care and research via the APPG on Coronavirus and is a member of the International Long Covid Research Collaboration. She is also working as an invited medical/scientific expert on developing an evidenced based Covid Policy for the Green Political Party health policy development team. She is campaigning and working hard to try and bring Long Covid treatment trials for adults and children to the UK. She holds a Kanro Grant investigating the effects of Covid and Long Covid in children and young people. She is a medical champion for the Long Covid Kids Charity.

rae.duncan10@gmail.com 07531 055559

Prof Danny Altmann

Prof Altmann is a Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, where he heads a lab in the department of Immunology and Inflammation. On Covid and Long Covid he has advised policymakers including the House of Commons and House of Lords Science Committees, the APPG on Coronavirus, the Cabinet Office, Sir Keir Starmer and the Shadow Cabinet, the Welsh Assembly, the EU, The Scottish Parliament, WHO, NICE and the Department of Health. He holds an NIHR grant investigating the immunology of Long Covid. He is a trustee of Long Covid Support.

d.altmann@imperial.ac.uk 07872 850117

Charity Contact Details

Long Covid Support

Margaret O’Hara, margaretohara@longcovid.org, 07939 415 343

Jo House, jo.house@bristol.ac.uk , 07986 860335

MIke Ormerod, mike.ormerod@outlook.com

Long Covid SOS
Ondine Sherwood, ondine@longcovidsos.org, 07968 083 578

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