A recent study has revealed that long COVID, or Post COVID-19 Condition, has led to an estimated additional cost of at least £23 million in GP and other primary care consultations in the UK each year. The study, published in BMC Primary Care, examined over 950,000 electronic health care records after the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The research, conducted by the University of Birmingham, calculated that the cost of primary care consultations after 12 weeks of a COVID-19 infection was £2.44 per patient. However, the impact of Long COVID significantly increases these costs to £30 per patient diagnosed with the condition and £57 per patient experiencing ongoing symptoms. As a result, the study concludes that the financial burden for primary care services across the UK due to Long COVID could exceed £23 million annually.
Dr. Louise Jackson, co-lead author of the study and a researcher at the Health Economics Unit at the University of Birmingham, emphasized the increased demand for primary care services as a result of COVID-19. She stated that the financial burden of Long COVID is estimated to range from £23 million to £60 million per year, accounting for additional consultations with GPs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
The costs identified in the study represent only a fraction of the overall increase in healthcare resources required to support individuals with Long COVID. The findings should be considered in future pandemic planning to ensure the needs of this population are met. Dr. Shamil Haroon, co-lead author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Applied Health Research, also highlighted the variation in healthcare access and costs across different communities.
To determine the support required for individuals with Long COVID, the researchers analyzed data from the early stages of the pandemic, comparing individuals who had contracted COVID-19 and those who hadn’t. The data revealed that the financial impact on primary care following COVID-19 is not evenly distributed and may differ among various demographic groups. The study found additional costs associated with being white and female, indicating potential disparities in healthcare access.
Moreover, Long COVID remains a poorly understood and often underdiagnosed condition. Many patients experiencing ongoing health issues following a COVID-19 infection require extra consultation time and resources despite not receiving a formal diagnosis.
In conclusion, the study highlights the significant economic impact of Long COVID on primary care services in the UK, with estimated costs exceeding £23 million annually. The findings underscore the need for increased support and resources to address the ongoing health needs of individuals with Long COVID. Future pandemic planning should consider these costs and ensure equitable access to healthcare across different communities and demographics.
- Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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