A NEW £10 million long Covid support fund has been welcomed by an East Renfrewshire woman.

Pamela Bell tested positive for Covid last September, and continues to suffer from the effects of the virus.

The 62-year-old has a mild chest condition – bronchiectasis – which meant she had to shield at the start of the pandemic and after contracting the virus was admitted to hospital, where she ended up in intensive care and was intubated for almost three months.

And the mother-of-two, who has been left unable to walk far, had to retire from working in a nursery.

Mrs Bell, from Clarkston, said: “Recently I was able to walk for two minutes and 40 seconds – which is a huge achievement for me.

“Before Covid, I was a senior child development officer, which involved outdoor play. I’d be in the playground or taking the children on forest walks, doing at least 15,000 steps a day. I’d help out in my community. I was there for everybody.

“This last year has been a challenge, when I’ve had to let other people take care of me. But I’m blown away by everything I’ve been given by the NHS.”

Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, made the announcement last week after meeting patient Pamela, as well as healthcare professionals at Eastwood Health and Care Centre.

The fund is designed to maximise and improve the co-ordination of a broad range of existing services across the health and social care system and third sector in response to long Covid.

“We know that long Covid can’t be handled with a one-size-fits-all approach,” he added. “It can be complex and involve an array of diverse symptoms and combinations of those symptoms.

“It’s been great to meet Pamela and hear how she has benefited from care and rehabilitation in a setting close to home.”

The Scottish Government said the fund will be flexible and tailored to local needs, and will strengthen the range of information and advice available.

It will ensure the right support is available within primary care, providing a response focused on each patient’s needs, with referrals to secondary care where necessary.