Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th December 2020.

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The First Minister:

The issue that Fulton MacGregor raises is a really important one, and it is a reminder of the fact that the virus does not affect only older people and does not result only in some vulnerable people, in particular, losing their lives; it can affect younger people, and it can do so on a long-term basis. We do not yet fully understand the issues and the factors behind what has become known as long Covid, but we all need to address that in the months to come.

The NHS already delivers care that is tailored to the needs of people who are experiencing long Covid across a range of specialisms. We are also working with the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop a clinical guideline on the persistent effects of Covid, which will be published shortly. That will support clinicians to better identify symptoms and any treatments that people need and might benefit from.

In addition, we have launched a call for research to improve understanding of the longer-term effects of Covid on physical and mental health and wellbeing. Thereafter, we will develop clinical interventions to better support recovery and rehabilitation. It is an area in which we all need to understand more, and there is no doubt that much will need to be done to address the longer-term impacts.