A study published in BMC Primary Care has revealed that long-COVID diagnoses and persistent symptoms among non-hospitalized adults were associated with a 43% and 44% increase in the costs of primary care in the United Kingdom. The study, led by University of Birmingham researchers, analyzed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum primary care database to estimate additional primary care costs and risk factors for long-term COVID-19 symptoms.
The research included 472,173 COVID-19 survivors and an equal number of matched uninfected participants, using data from January 2020 to April 2021. The study found that there were 3,871 cases of long-COVID and 30,174 cases of symptomatic long-COVID. The patients in the study were on average 44 years old, 55% were women, 64% were White, and 55% were overweight or obese.
According to the study authors, older age, female sex, obesity, White race, chronic conditions, and more previous consultations were risk factors for increased costs in primary care for patients with long-COVID. The annual incremental cost of primary care for long-COVID was £2.44 ($3.06) per patient and £23,382,452 ($29.3 million) nationally. Phone consultations represented over 60% of the total costs in all groups