The heavy truck driver was one of the first patients hospitalized with coronavirus in Scotland in March 2020 and was in a coma for 16 days at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
Neil, 59, of Mid Calder, West Lothian, said: ‘I had always been fit and healthy before but Covid left me with so many issues that kept me from working for more than a year – bone and muscle pain, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and sore eyes.
“Fortunately, my employers keep my job open for me, but sick pay ended at the end of January. If I had no savings we would be in serious trouble, so I welcome all efforts to have Long Covid recognized as a disability in order to provide workers with legal protection and compensation.
“None of us asked for this, so any help would be appreciated. “
The father of two has paid tribute to his family for helping him get through this, especially his four-year-old granddaughter Ellie.
As one of the first Scottish Covid patients to be released from the ICU, Neil was cheered as he left the ward.
He was transferred to the nephrology department at the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary, where he spent a month because of the virus damaging his kidneys.
Neil thinks he would benefit greatly from specialist medical support, but nothing is available.
He said: “I feel like I’ve been left to continue with all of these things. All I got from the doctor was a prescription for antidepressants.
“We need Long Covid clinics like in England to be able to access specialized support. “
Jackie Baillie of Scottish Labor said: “We fully support the recognition of Long Covid as a disability. The threat posed to the well-being of people and to the health of our economy cannot be underestimated. It is time for the Scottish government to act to set up Long Covid clinics now. “
The Scottish Government said: ‘We are strengthening existing services offered by our NHS, partnering with the third sector and investing £ 2.5million in research to learn more about the disease.
“We encourage employers to apply fair labor principles and a flexible approach to dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. “