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GPs stricken by long Covid ‘shocked and betrayed’ at being forced from jobs

Family doctors are being forced out of their jobs after developing long Covid, prompting demands for the government to compensate NHS staff with the debilitating condition who cannot work.

GPs struggling with the condition have told the Observer they felt “shocked and betrayed” when their colleagues removed them from their posts because of prolonged sick leave.

“I received a lawyer’s letter on behalf of the other partners in the GP surgery telling me that they were ending my partnership. I understood why they did what they did, because I was too sick to work at the time. But it was also callous and mercenary,” said one doctor who lost her job.

“It was hard on me, as one of the partners was also my best friend. The partners were worried I’d be a ‘disabled partner’ and wouldn’t be able to pull my weight. Long Covid meant I simply couldn’t function normally and so couldn’t meet the return to work date they gave me, so they exercised their right under our partnership agreement to end my partnership at the surgery,” added the GP, who asked to remain anonymous.

The issue has prompted soul-searching within the medical profession about what duty of care family doctors owe each other when they cannot work because they have been laid low with exhaustion, brain fog, breathlessness and other symptoms of long Covid.

Locum medics and hospital doctors with the condition are also having problems including loss of income, trouble accessing sick pay, contractual difficulties and getting employers to accept that they cannot work normally, sometimes for months.

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Source: The Guardian, 23 May 2021


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