BMA reveals impact of long-term coronavirus symptoms

A survey of doctors during the pandemic has revealed significant levels of long-term coronavirus symptoms in patients and doctors, highlighting concerns that the NHS will continue to experience pressure in the months ahead.

Of almost 4,000 doctors in England and Wales questioned by the British Medical Association about their experiences over the last two weeks, almost a third have seen or treated patients with symptoms they believe are a longer-term effect of the patient having had coronavirus. This can be anything from chronic fatigue and reduced exercise capacity, to muscle weakness and memory loss.

Additionally, of 4,120 doctors who responded, a quarter believe that they previously have, or may have, had coronavirus. Although not surprising, the BMA has said that ‘it is not acceptable’.

Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP committee for England, said: “It's increasingly clear that the long-term impact of Covid-19 on individuals and on health services will be profound. These statistics suggest that patients are, even once they have recovered from the worst of this virus, still suffering the after-effects for some time.

“With more patients presenting with conditions as the result of infection, it’s essential that sufficient capacity is in place to support and treat them. With the growing backlog of non-Covid treatment, the likelihood of a season flu outbreak, and the possibility of a second wave of infections we need to see a more comprehensive long-term plan to enable doctors to care for their patients this winter and beyond. It’s also essential that the public are kept informed with more clear and consistent information about the risks of infection and how to avoid it, and any further easing of lockdown measures must be informed by the latest transmission rates.”

Event Diary

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