Calls Mounting for Long COVID to be Classified as Industrial Disease

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LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott In: Industrial Disease

Pressure is mounting on MPS to class ‘long COVID’ as an occupational disease, which would potentially lead to many key workers being compensated and receiving monthly payments for having to live with the difficult long-term effects. Our specialist solicitor Stacy Pimlott has talked to those affected by Long Covid, and commented that: “People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is recognised as a symptom of long Covid, are severely restricted in their day to day activities. Simple tasks, such as shopping or even working, can utilise their full energy reserves which causes them to have ‘fatigue crashes’. The impact of this is life changing and each day is always a new challenge due to the unpredictability of the same. Some liken this to riding a rollercoaster; they merely just have to buckle in and take each day as it comes. With people now suffering from this it needs to be recognised as part of the ‘Long Covid’ effect and thereafter recognised as an industrial disease

What is long COVID and what are the symptoms?

As COVID-19 is still a relatively new phenomenon, the impact of it is still being explored and understood. Long COVID is a term that is used to describe signs and symptoms that last longer than 4 weeks after getting COVID-19. There are now known to be two stages to Long COVID. These include:

  • Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19, which means that the symptoms last for 4-12 weeks
  • Post-COVID19 syndrome – this will involve symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks and can’t be explained by any other diagnosis

Long COVID is capable of affecting your whole body and your symptoms can change a lot over a period of time.

The symptoms of Long COVID that can last for an extended period of time include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Problems with memory and concentration (often referred to as ‘brain fog’)
  • A cough that has been ongoing since you’ve had COVID-19
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles in your arms and legs
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain or tightness; heart palpitations
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • A rash on the skin

The NHS has responded to the increasing amount of Long COVID cases by launching a programme called ‘Your COVID Recovery.’ It is an online rehabilitation platform that is designed to support both mental and physical recovery from Long COVID.

Categorisation as Industrial Disease

Within the realms of law, Industrial diseases and injuries are defined as conditions that are resulting from exposure to occupational hazards in the workplace. For obvious reasons, they can vary depending on your workplace and the type of work that you do, but if you have been made unwell or injured because of an avoidable situation in your workplace, then you may be able to claim compensation to support you throughout your recovery. The proposal by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus to class Long Covid as an industrial disease has now won the backing of 65 MPs and peers, as well as the BMA (British Medical Association). Layla Moran, who is the Liberal Democrat MP who chairs the group, has stated that the ‘heroes of the pandemic’ who contracted COVID-19 while serving the public should be eligible for regular monthly payments to compensate them for their ill health. In Febuary of this year, she told BBC’s Today programme that ‘these are the people who saved our lives, quite literally…and it’s only right that we save their livelihoods.’ The BMA’s council chair, Chaand Nagpaul, furthered this sentiment by stating that; ‘the dedication and selflessness shown by healthcare workers over the last year, and the debt of gratitude owed to them cannot be underestimated.’ It is thought that this scheme would potentially mirror that of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme that is already implemented by the government in order to assist those suffering long term effects from their time in service.

Taking the next steps

This is something that our legal team will be keeping a close eye on in the coming months, as the true impact of COVID-19 on society becomes clear. If this proposal forces the government to take action and categorise Long COVID as an industrial disease, then getting in touch with our specialists as soon as possible will allow you to get the compensation that you need quickly.

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