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Raise the Roof: Motion [Private Members] (12 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: That was mentioned earlier. It has been happening for years in this city. There are plenty of houses but unfortunately they are in the wrong hands and they are being used for the wrong purposes. Child homelessness is endemic once again. There are more than 3,000 children without a place to call home. This is the official number. We do no know how many are sharing box rooms or sitting...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Business of Joint Committee (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Before I introduce the witness, we have one piece of housekeeping. Draft copies of the minutes of the meetings of 7 December 2021; 14 December 2021; 22 March 2022; 24 March 2022; 29 March 2022; 5 April 2022; 26 April 2022; 3 May 2022; 10 May 2022; 24 May 2022; 1 June 2022; 15 June 2022; 22 June 2022; and 29 June 2022 have been circulated to members.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Business of Joint Committee (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: We will do that. Are the minutes agreed? Agreed.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: The committee is meeting with Dr. John Lambert to discuss the effects of long Covid and the provision of long Covid care in Ireland. I welcome Dr. Lambert, who is a consultant in infectious diseases at the Mater and Rotunda hospitals in Dublin and a full clinical professor at the school of medicine in University College Dublin, UCD. Members and the witness are again reminded of the...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: I thank Dr. Lambert. I ask members to stick to their eight-minute slots. We may return to them if there is time at the end.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Next will be Deputy Burke, followed by Senator Hoey.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: I have some questions. The scary thing is that we all know someone who has long Covid. Yesterday, I spoke to a person whose symptom was really bad migraines. The advice is to take more exercise but a woman told me that if she does extra ironing or anything like that, she is exhausted for about three days afterwards. If a person with long Covid attends a special occasion such as a child's...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: The other frustrating thing for people in that situation is the idea that, as there are no visible symptoms of their illness, the implication is that it is imaginary. People have touched on that. Dr. Lambert referred to PET scans. I have had a PET scan and know the format of it. If there is technology that can prove a person has a particular illness, that would be a significant...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Part of the challenge is that we are being told that society has moved on in terms of Covid. Dr. Lambert mentioned mask-wearing. A lot of the measures that were introduced seem to have been put aside. Does part of the challenge involve the need for society to face up to the fact that Covid is going to be here for the long term? Dr. Lambert mentioned the different variants, such as Omicron...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: To simplify it, past infection dampens the immune system rather than strengthening it.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Is that the pattern Dr. Lambert is seeing emerging?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: People are repeating a dangerous message that they got a mild version of it. If a person gets Covid in summer, that does not stop him or her getting it again in autumn.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: If the person's immune system is down from the earlier infection, it is likely the second infection will have a worse impact.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: If we are looking for a positive message for people who are trying to prevent Covid by wearing a mask or taking vitamin D, a subject on which the committee compiled a report, or ensuring air circulation in rooms, which we have not been good at doing in Ireland although there was an attempt in that regard in schools, it is that they need to focus on their immune system to try to prevent that-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Regarding brain fog, again, it would not be unusual for people who have had a long illness to get what is colloquially described as "brain fog". At one time people talked about how it was perhaps linked to anaesthetic or whatever else or the illness itself. Brain fog is not unusual for long-term illness, is it?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: The argument made by those who are in this system is that they do not want to be going to see a neurologist in one hospital and going to someone else for something else. It is important to have a centralised structure - that one-stop shop element, or whatever - where all the elements to treat an illness are in one particular area. How important does Dr. Lambert consider that to be? I know...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Patients psych themselves up to go to the hospital. It may knock them back for two or three days due to the journey, the time waiting, the time being seen and the time getting back. Again, that is pattern that people are telling me about. That is the big challenge they have. The fact that no one is coming up with a solution that seems to be easing or resolving their symptoms is hugely...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: Some of those who have had long Covid and recovered are afraid to get the vaccine in case it triggers the long Covid again. Others are terrified that if they get Covid again, they will be back in that cycle. Is that the pattern Dr. Lambert has seen emerge with many of those patients, or do patients recover and move on? Is there any evidence on that?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health: Effects of Long Covid and Provision of Long Covid Care: Engagement with Dr. John Lambert (6 Jul 2022)

Seán Crowe: If there is one message to take from today, it is that we need a plan to educate our public and employers on the condition itself.

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