MP COLUMN: The pandemic has exacerbated problems for some with health problems
As Covid recedes, we can better see the collateral damage to our health service which understandably had its hands full but now needs to catch up on a wide front.
The Muscular Dystrophy UK charity has produced a detailed report for the all-party parliamentary group which I chair of the specific impact of Covid on those with muscle-wasting conditions.
These are rare and complex multi-system disorders with many symptoms and which affect about 70,000 people. Some are life-limiting.
People with muscle-wasting conditions require consistent monitoring, fast access to treatments and access to specialist consultants, physiotherapists, mental health professionals, neuromuscular care advisors.
Access before Covid was patchy but the pandemic has exacerbated problems, especially for those who have had to shield.
Here is the moving testimony of one person suddenly deprived of activities that make it easier to live with the disorder.
“I am not going to the office every day, travelling on the bus, opening doors, lifting and carrying items, transferring to the toilet at work. I cannot go swimming or have physio or massage. Instead at home what I do is more limited and I have noticed in particular that my arm strength has deteriorated. I can no longer raise my arms to stir while cooking, for instance, or turn and flush the toilet. I have to ask for help with drinking, in more situations. I am experiencing increasing pain and sometimes have to go lie down in the afternoon because of this.”
There are many more such experiences. The charity has identified recovery priorities which I will do my best to champion as part of the wider drive to renew our health service.