Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart, questioned the First Minister during the recalled session of the Scottish Parliament today. The First Minister announced a change to PCR confirmatory testing requirements. Ms Wishart asked for clarification that this change would not hinder those who later develop Long Covid from getting the treatment they need in the future.
Testing changes from 6th January mean that those with no symptoms and a positive Lateral Flow would need to self-isolate but are no longer required to get a confirmatory PCR test. Those who developed Covid-19 before widespread testing, and are subsequently living with Long Covid, have not received, and in some instances have been denied, appropriate care and support because they are unable to prove they developed Covid-19.
The First Minister confirmed that Long Covid treatment would not be delayed by a lack of a PCR test result. The First Minister stated that a Lateral Flow test recorded online would be a sufficient record for treatment.
Ms Wishart is a member of the Cross Party Group on Long Covid which seeks to highlight and influence policy on this emerging condition. During the summer of 2021 Ms Wishart asked constituents to contact her and NHS Shetland to get a better understanding of the number of people living with Long Covid in the isles and to ensure the necessary care is made available.
After questioning the First Minister Ms Wishart said:
“I am pleased that the First Minister has directly addressed this. A registered Lateral Flow test will help with Long Covid treatment, in the future, should you need it.
“The First Minister warned us of a tsunami of Omicron cases, but I hope we do not see a tsunami of those living with Long Covid after this wave.
“For those with Long Covid we must do all we can to help with the impact of this condition. Some people’s lives have been turned upside down by Long Covid and it has a ripple effect on their families.
“Please get in contact with me or let NHS Shetland know about your Long Covid experience so that we can ensure that those who need care and support for this debilitating condition can get it.”
Notes to Editors
Ms Wishart’s question to the First Minister (check against delivery):
Some people currently living with Long Covid, and some with Covid caught nearly two years before widespread testing, have no proof of a past PCR test and consequently have had difficulty accessing the treatment and support they need.
Given the change announced today regarding no requirement for a PCR test where a lateral flow test is positive with no symptoms, can the First Minister provide assurance that those who may go on to develop Long Covid in the future, and have not had a PCR test to confirm, will not have similar delayed treatment experiences like the ‘First Wavers’?