Almost 4,000 people are getting a disability payment from the State because they are unable to return to work due to Long COVID, according to an independent TD.
Denis Naughten said the figure is “just the tip of the iceberg” and urged the HSE to immediately put in place a patient registry to count the number of people suffering from the condition in Ireland.
Deputy Naughten obtained the figures through a Parliamentary question to the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys.
They suggest that, as of June 24th, just under 3,800 Long COVID patients were unable to return to work and in receipt of a disability payment
Deputy Naughten told Newstalk the figures show that Long COVID is “clearly a significant problem” in the community.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg because, based on HSE figures, there is somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 people experiencing some or all of the symptoms of Long COVID,” he said.
“That is putting huge additional pressure on waiting lists within the health system and it really needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.”
Deputy said a Long COVID patient register is urgently needed so the HSE can begin to respond to the needs of patients.
“What needs to happen now is we need to have a patient register in place to identify the numbers and the type of illnesses people are experiencing as a result of Long COVID,” he said.
“We need to urgently establish Long COVID clinics for both adults and children right across this country so people can access care from a multi-disciplinary team as close as possible to their own home.”
He said frontline healthcare staff who picked up COVID in the workplace deserve more support from the State.