Campaigners want long Covid compensation scheme for frontline workers - here’s why

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 10:48 am
Updated Thursday, 18th February 2021, 10:57 am
The Government is being urged to recognise long Covid as an occupational disease and set up a compensation scheme for frontline workers suffering from the condition (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Government is being urged to recognise long Covid as an occupational disease and set up a compensation scheme for frontline workers suffering from the condition.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus is calling on the Government to acknowledge the impact on those struggling to return to work, and follow in the footsteps of France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, who have all formally recognised long Covid as an occupational disease.

An occupational disease is “any disease contracted primarily as a result of an exposure to risk factors arising from work activity,” according to the World Health Organisation.

What is long Covid?

Long Covid is a term used to describe the long-term impact of Covid-19 that some people experience after contracting the virus.

Symptoms can include ongoing fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, 'brain fog,' memory loss, a lack of concentration, loss of taste or smell, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Up to 20 per cent of patients are reporting symptoms of the disease weeks after becoming ill, Professor Danny Altmann, from Imperial College London, said this week.

‘They are the true heroes of the pandemic ‘

APPG wants the Government to especially recognise the long-term effect of long Covid on frontline NHS, care and key workers, and introduce a compensation scheme for those impacted by the condition.

A letter, which has been signed by more than 60 MPs and peers, has been sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on action from the Government.

APPG chairwoman, Layla Moran, said: “Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic, and it is likely to have an enormous impact on society for many years to come.

“When it comes to frontline NHS, care and key workers, they were specifically asked to go to work and save lives while everyone else was asked to stay at home.

“They were exposed to an increased level of risk of catching the virus, often without adequate levels of PPE.”

Ms Moran added that frontline NHS, care and key workers “are the true heroes of the pandemic,” but “many have developed the debilitating effects of long Covid, meaning that they are unable to return to full-time work.”

“The Government cannot abandon them now or ever,” said Ms Moran.

“The least the Government can do is recognise their sacrifice by recognising their condition as an occupational disease, launching a compensation scheme, and save the livelihoods of those who save lives.”