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Nurses, midwives and other National Health Service (NHS) workers are at greater risk of developing Long Covid than other people1 with highest infection rates seen among nurses.2 3 These NHS workers put their own lives on the line to care for people with COVID-19, often without adequate personal protective equipment. At the time NHS workers were seen as ‘heroes’. But now NHS workers with Long Covid have been abandoned by the UK Governments and, in many cases, their employers.
Over the past year, we have heard from many NHS workers with Long Covid. We have become increasingly appalled at how these NHS staff are being treated. A constant theme in what people tell us is that HR and managers do not understand what Long Covid is and are unaware of the support needed to get people back into work. In this editorial, we aim to address some of the key issues.
Impact of Long Covid on people’s ability to work
Several studies have demonstrated that Long Covid impacts on people’s employability:
Of 1250 people with Long Covid who were infected in early 2020 only 8% are working at their pre-COVID-19 levels.4
Among 145 UK workers recovering from COVID-19 only 15% had managed a full return to work.5
Another survey found that 20% of people with Long Covid are not working and 16% are doing reduced hours.6
Enablers to returning to work
Recently, one of the authors (JC-S) asked the Long Covid community on Twitter what had enabled them to return to work. Responses can be seen in figure 1. These enablers are in line with best practice guidelines …
Twitter @alitwy, @JCeoltaSmith, @ClareRayner6
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.