Long Covid patients will continue to be seen by a specialist clinic for the next three months, after which the pattern will be reviewed in line with the Gibraltar Health Authority’s exit strategy to reduce pandemic services.
The review of specific services for people with long Covid comes as the GHA continues its Covid exit strategy, which Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Director of Public Health Dr Helen Carter announced last month. last during a press conference at Convent No. 6 Place.
Locally long Covid patients, meaning those with symptoms more than a month after infection, had been seen at a dedicated GHA clinic which tracked symptoms and offered personalized advice.
News that the dedicated clinic may be closed has raised concerns among some long-time Covid patients who believe it has provided much-needed support for a condition that has puzzled doctors around the world and which science is still trying to unravel. understand correctly.
A patient who had suffered from long, debilitating Covid symptoms for more than a year told the Chronicle that the dedicated clinic gave him reassurance that his symptoms were being closely monitored and treated.
The fear is that a return to routine GP appointments could delay diagnosis and treatment.
“There is a lack of empathy and support [for long Covid sufferers] of the local healthcare system, and I had to turn to social media and talk to people from other countries to see that they face the same limitations in their own healthcare department,” the patient said.
“I’m afraid I’ll never feel like I did before when I got infected with Covid-19, but I just want to feel better so I can get on with my daily tasks and not have to choose between showering or cooking or working.
The GHA told the Chronicle that patients referred with long Covid symptoms are currently being seen at a medical clinic run by consultant physician Dr Bassill and assured that they will continue to receive the care and support they have need.
“This clinic will continue to operate for at least the next three months, at which time the GHA will reassess the situation,” a GHA spokesperson said.
“Additional clinical services provided by GHA during the Covid-19 pandemic – including the long-running Covid clinic – are being regularly reviewed and scaled back as necessary and in line with HMGoG’s exit strategy.”
“All long-term Covid patients under Dr Bassill’s care and requiring ongoing clinical support will continue to receive this support as needed and in accordance with best practice.”
“How this support is provided may well change for operational reasons as the GHA progresses through the exit strategy.”
“The GHA reassures all patients that they will nevertheless continue to receive the necessary clinical support until it is no longer needed.”
The long-running Covid clinic review follows the reduction of Covid-related GHA services.
Last month, the Contact Tracing Office scaled back its operations, retaining limited functions with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable.
Mask-wearing has also been reviewed in recent months, as have rules on self-isolation and travel requirements.
Earlier this month the government also announced that it had reduced the reporting of Covid statistics from daily to weekly.