The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) has today launched a new Podcast series about work and health. Listen here.
The first episode in this new Podcast series focuses on Long COVID and work. Long COVID can involve a wide range of symptoms including extreme fatigue, breathlessness, muscle and joint pain, chest pain and mental health problems, all of which can impede an individual’s ability to return to employment. A recent study indicates that Long COVID has a highly significant impact on work, with 22.3% of respondents losing their employment and 45% working in reduced capacity.
In this episode, Dr Nisreen Alwan, Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Southampton, Dr Clare Rayner, retired occupational physician and member of the Long Covid Support Employment Group, and Lesley Macniven, Long Covid Support campaigner and Employment Group Chair and Long Covid Scotland Network Co-Founder, discuss the complex emerging issues around Long COVID and work. We also hear from Maria, a teacher, about her return-to-work journey following COVID-19 infection.
About the speakers:
Dr Nisreen Alwan is an Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Southampton and an Honorary Consultant in Public Health at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Alwan has been advocating on the recognition and the quantification of morbidity from COVID-19, having initiated the call to Count ‘Long COVID’. She was awarded an MBE for services to Medicine and Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2021. She was also named amongst other inspiring and influential women from around the world in the BBC 100 Women 2020 list.
Dr Clare Rayner qualified in 1990 from St Andrew and Manchester Universities, UK. She is a retired consultant occupational physician and has worked across several sectors, including transport, manufacturing, healthcare, heavy metals, chemical electronics, food + pharmaceutical, construction, service, and utilities. She was an Honorary Lecturer at the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Manchester until 2018 and worked as a Trainer for the National Education Project for Health and Work (2010-13). Clare is an experienced trainer and group facilitator with CIPD and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® qualifications and particular expertise and experience as a communication skills trainer.
Clare talks with first-hand experience of Long COVID and has written several papers on this novel condition including three editorials on returning to work after Long COVID, leaflets for workers and employers published by SOM, and a recent Delphi Consensus on management of Long COVID. She addressed the WHO as a spokesperson for patient groups with post-COVID health issues and is collaborating with various groups to develop appropriate health services for these patients, including the Department of Rehabilitation Innovation at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. She is a member of the Long Covid Support Employment Group.
Lesley Macniven MA, FCIPD is a writer, coach, and consultant. Pre-COVID, Lesley was a freelance consultant, passionate about workplace equality, working with clients to deliver Diversity, Inclusion and Change projects. She has a professional background in HR as well as patient advocacy. Hit by COVID-19 in March 2020, Lesley became a moderator for a patient-led support and campaign group, Long Covid Support, seeking rehab, research and recognition for the patient named phenomenon ‘Long COVID’. Now a patient advocate and member of the SOM led Long COVID task force, Lesley has also worked with the NIHR, various researchers, Scottish Government health officials and is now Chair of the multidisciplinary Long Covid Support Employment Group. With over 42,000 group members, Lesley and her colleagues collate, disseminate, and promote insights and information to members and external agencies to join the dots that will lead us to co-design effective solutions. Lesley also runs Creative Writing workshops for people with Long COVID to support wellbeing during a challenging period while we explore treatment options.
- SOM COVID-19 return to work guide: For recovering workers https://www.som.org.uk/COVID-19_return_to_work_guide_for_recovering_workers.pdf
- SOM COVID-19 return to work guide: For managers https://www.som.org.uk/COVID-19_return_to_work_guide_for_managers.pdf
- Urgent need for occupational health for people with Long COVID https://www.som.org.uk/urgent-need-occupational-health-people-long-covid
- Perspectives on Long COVID and Work: Experts by Experience https://www.som.org.uk/perspectives-long-covid-and-work-experts-experience
- Pre-print Brit J Gen Practice: Recommendations for the Recognition, Diagnosis, and Management of Patients with Post COVID-19 Condition ('Long COVID'): A Delphi Study https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3822279
- Occupational Medicine editorial: Long COVID Implications for the workplace https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/71/3/121/6209472
- BMJ editorial: Fresh evidence of the scale and scope of Long COVID. Delaney B, Rayner C, Sivan M. https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/373/bmj.n853.full.pdf
- BMJ opinion: Patients’ experiences of ‘Long COVID’ are missing from the NHS narrative https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/07/10/patients-experiences-of-longcovid-are-missing-from-the-nhs-narrative/
- BMJ opinion: COVID-19: Prolonged and relapsing course of illness has implications for returning workers https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/06/23/covid-19-prolonged-and-relapsing-course-of-illness-has-implications-for-returning-workers/
- BMJ opinion: We have your message about Long COVID and we will act, says WHO https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/03/we-have-heard-your-message-about-long-covid-and-we-will-act-says-who/
Long Covid Support https://www.longcovid.org/
Long Covid SOS www.longcovidsos
Long Covid Scotland https://www.longcovid.scot/