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Over 8,000 people in Waterford suffering with long Covid

A Waterford TD says it's 'unacceptable' that people suffering with long Covid are being forced to wait so long for treatment.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office yesterday showed there are approximately 8,000 people in Waterford with long-term symptoms of the virus.

This is the 14th highest of the 26 counties - with over 100,000 people suffering with Long Covid in Dublin compared to just over 2,000 in Leitrim.

336,000 people nationwide are also suffering with symptoms of Long Covid - the majority of which are in Dublin.

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The figures have led to renewed calls for specialist long Covid clinics to be opened as soon as possible.

Independent TD for Waterford, Deputy Matt Shanahan says that people cannot be left waiting indefinitely.

"A lot of people are being referred by their doctors - but they're being put onto long term waiting lists. These are chronic problems which are affecting peoples' quality of life. The difficulty is that everybody would like to think that there is a way for them to get better but you need to see a medical professional to try and get you on that journey. The delay in this is causing problems. The Minister had signalled that there was a plan to roll out long Covid clinics in this country - that he was going to unveil them, but we have seen nothing to date."

Deputy Shanahan says that existing long Covid clinics are only in the private healthcare sector, and he has called for an immediate public rollout as private healthcare is inaccessible to many.

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"If you look online, the only long Covid clinics being operated in this country are coming from the private healthcare network. I haven't seen much being operated on the public side. This is the problem. We have a lot of patients who cannot access private medical care who need to go to the public hospital. They're going to find it very difficult to be treated in a timely enough manner, simply because of the burn of the healthcare problems that we have - and the waiting lists which exist, that are really extensive."

The Independent TD says that he has written to the Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, in the hope of immediate action. He believes that we should be treating this issue with the same urgency that Covid itself was met with at the onset of the pandemic.

"I've written to the Minister and asked him to respond with the same urgency that we took with Covid from the very start. This is a national health emergency. It is burgeoning at the moment, but nobody seems to want to take notice. It is going to come in on top of the existing waiting list problems that we have in our acute and elected hospitals - adding significant further strain to the whole system."

County breakdown of Long Covid patient numbers:

  1. Dublin 100650
  2. Cork 34251
  3. Galway 18245
  4. Kildare 16791
  5. Limerick 14317
  6. Meath 14071
  7. Donegal 12093
  8. Louth 10734
  9. Tipperary 10511
  10. Wexford 9093
  11. Kerry 9076
  12. Wicklow 8636
  13. Clare 8368
  14. Waterford 8273
  15. Mayo 8229
  16. Westmeath 7093
  17. Kilkenny 6326
  18. Laois 5890
  19. Cavan 5310
  20. Offaly 5290
  21. Carlow 4750
  22. Monaghan 4664
  23. Roscommon 4487
  24. Sligo 4204
  25. Longford 3025
  26. Leitrim 2075 
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