A long Covid support group in Salford are actively seeking to help more people suffering from poorly understood Covid effects that have drastically changed lives.

Facilitator of the sessions and admin of the Facebook support forum, Heather Broughton, from Salford Health Improvement, stated: “It’s about people supporting each other and sharing their experiences, but most of all being believed.

“We must get the word out there to get people to understand, because a lot of people ended up either losing their job or going down the disciplinary route as there was a complete lack of understanding.”

Peter Elcock, a member of ‘We Recover’, was put into an induced coma last December for nearly three weeks after Covid caused his lungs, kidneys, and heart to fail.

Despite surviving, Mr Elcock has suffered significant damage to his short-term memory and 65% of his lung no longer works.

“Doctors told my wife that I was not going to make it, so she was making arrangements for my funeral in her mind.

“The people that help us are underrated, underpaid and they don’t get as much praise and respect as they should.

He continued: “Who listens to you at twenty to eight at night? Nobody. Who lets you have your say? Nobody.

“But this group does.”

A fellow ‘We Recover’ member, who wishes to remain anonymous, experienced great hardship regarding being taken seriously by medical staff, stating: “I ended up in A and E before I even managed to see a GP as they refused to see me.”

The member is now receiving help from the lung team and waiting months at a time between appointments, after experiencing consistent breathing problems, lasting aches and pains, and brain fog ever since contracting Covid in March 2020.

They expressed: “I was a person who could cope with things going wrong before I had Covid, I could manage things, I had my own business, but now I just can’t.

“I’m retired, but I don’t think I could have gone back to the job I had, I just feel I’m not the person I was two years ago.”

Both members reported that brain fog impacts them greatly, with Peter adding: “We will recover with regards to our breathing, we can bare the aches and pains, but the only thing you can’t get rid of is brain fog.”

In a study by the Office for National Statistics, it was found that out of people with self-reported long Covid, 37% first had (or suspected they had) Covid at least one year previously.

Despite these long lasting Covid symptoms that are severely impacting people like Peter and fellow members of ‘We Recover’, in addition to the lack of understanding from society and medical professionals, Peter remains positive and returned to work in September, just 9 months after awaking from his coma.

“There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. It is there if you want it enough.

“But you need somebody behind you to give you that shove,” he added.

‘We Recover’ hold their virtual sessions on Tuesdays at 6-7:30pm as well as their face-to-face group at Humphrey Booth Day Centre at 1-2:30pm on Thursdays, for anyone facing the hardship of long Covid.

Salford City Council started the support group.

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