Forced closure of Mater Long Covid Clinic will deprive northside communities of a vital service

06 December 2022

Speaking in response to the forced closure of the Mater Hospital’s Long Covid Clinic, Senator Marie Sherlock has sharply criticised the HSE’s decision to disadvantage Long Covid sufferers living on the northside of Dublin.

Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Sherlock said: “The closure of the Long Covid Clinic at the Mater Hospital will deprive communities on the northside of Dublin of a vital service for those with enduring Covid-19 symptoms.”

“Serious questions need to be raised about the HSE’s model of care towards Long Covid. We know that the long-term symptoms of Covid-19 can be physically and mentally debilitating, forecast to affect up to an estimated 16,000 people in this country. And yet, we are not seeing the necessary long-term resources being put into Long Covid care.

“Under the stewardship of Professor Jack Lambert and other doctors, the Mater Hospital has been to the fore in treating and studying the long-term effects of Covid-19, and were among the first to recognise Long Covid requiring neuro-rehabilitative care.
“Shockingly, despite this record, the HSE has decided not to continue funding the vital work of the Mater’s Long Covid Clinic. This decision raises very serious questions about the State’s overall framework for dealing with Long Covid in the months and years ahead.”

“We know from the work of clinicians in the Mater hospital that there is considerable demand for Long Covid care. However, the HSE’s current plans seriously under-estimate the need for neuro-rehabilitative treatment. Proper neuro-cognitive care will be vital for the estimated 16,000 people now suffering from Long Covid symptoms. Worryingly, the HSE is currently planning for only one consultant neurologist to cover the entire country’s Long Covid needs.

“It is vital we now put in place the Long Covid services that will be needed in the coming years. And yet, in shutting down the Mater Clinic, we will lose one of the few places where Long Covid patients are currently seen promptly, without months of delay.”
Senator Sherlock added:

“Rather than put in place the long-term services we need to support those with Long Covid symptoms, we are instead seeing the appalling decision to close the Mater Long Covid Clinic. This will leave no service for the north inner city and much of the north side of Dublin, and will seriously undermine our national approach to treating Long Covid.

“The HSE must see sense and provide funding to keep the Mater Clinic open, as part of a broader rolling out of new Long covid clinics across the country.”

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