Cases of Long Covid should be recorded in the same way as coronavirus hospitalisations and deaths, a cross-party Westminster group recommends today.
Some 65 MPs and peers have written to Boris Johnson urging him to take into account the “untold human suffering” caused by the long-term effects of the disease and the risk more people could develop the condition as lockdown is eased.
Their letter calls on the Government to collect data on Long Covid cases and factor them future decisions over measures to contain the virus, in the same way as it does for hospitalisations and deaths.
Failing to follow the advice would mean the Prime Minister’s pledge to be guided by “data not dates” risks “becoming an empty slogan”, they claim.
Latest Office for National Statistics estimates suggest about 1.1 million people in the UK are living with Long Covid.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, said: “The impact of Long Covid was largely ignored during the first and second waves of this pandemic.
“Given we now know an estimated 1.1 million people across the country are suffering with this condition, it would be unforgivable to make the same mistake again.
“Boris Johnson has promised to be guided by data not dates.
“That must include publishing regular figures on Long Covid cases and factoring them into the Government’s roadmap out of the current lockdown.”
The letter to the PM – signed by 32 MPs and 33 peers from eight parties – cites figures showing show Long Covid has “disproportionately impacted on key workers on the frontline” of the pandemic, including an estimated 122,000 in healthcare, 114,000 in teaching and education, 31,000 in social care and 30,000 in transport.
It warns the Premier: “Cases, hospitalisations and deaths are not the only measure of this pandemic.
“We urge the Government to also count the number of people left with Long Covid, many of them whose lives have been devastated by this pandemic.
“Your Government has pledged to be guided by ‘data not dates’.
“This pledge risks becoming an empty slogan unless comprehensive data is collected on Long Covid and factored into future decisions.”
Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, who sits on the group and has suffered from Long Covid, said: “The Government’s current approach seems to be focused only on the short-term, while ignoring the long-lasting consequences of coronavirus and the human suffering it causes.
“It risks causing a ticking time bomb for our NHS, economy and the key workers most likely to be affected by Long Covid.
“It’s crucial that Boris Johnson listens to his own scientific advisers and addresses the impact of Long Covid on communities around the country.”