Kate Garraway gives update on husband's long COVID battle as he faces lengthy wait for NHS clinic care

Watch: Kate Garraway gives update on husband's long wait for COVID care

Kate Garraway has said husband Derek Draper faces a several-year wait to be seen by a specialist long COVID clinic.

Former political advisor Draper first became ill with the virus in March 2020, spending 13 months in hospital before returning home – though is still affected by long-lasting damage.

Speaking with fellow host Richard Madeley during a Good Morning Britain broadcast from Whiston Hospital in Prescot, Garraway acknowledged the pressure the NHS has been under, now also amid winter nurse strikes over pay.

"I know with my own experience with Derek... finally got into the long covid clinic after a year and a half to an amazing, amazing group of people that are working on the impact of COVID damage," she said.

"And they said, 'We're gonna get you into this person, we're gonna get you into that person, we're gonna take action.' The appointments have now come through for [20]23 and [20]24."

Madeley interjected, "You're joking?"

"So you're talking about four years from the original impact," added Garraway. "And that's the pressure, and we're grateful to have the appointments."

Read more: Woman experiences 49 debilitating long COVID symptoms: 'It's blighted my life for two years'

Kate Garraway, alongside her husband Derek Draper and two children Darcey, 13, and Bill, 10, arrives back at Heathrow Airport after the 2019 series of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! (PA Images)
Kate Garraway alongside husband Derek Draper and their children after the 2019 series of I'm A Celebrity ...Get Me Out Of Here! (PA)

Draper returned to hospital in summer this year and again in October due to sepsis, but is now back in his family home.

Appearing on Lorraine earlier this month with fellow presenter Ben Shephard, Garraway said, "It's a long onslaught. I can see he has better days, he has worse days.

"He's thankfully at home now. It's been a long battle to get him back again."

"I think it's very tough on him and it's very tough on the people around him," she added, thanking Shephard personally.

Garraway and Draper married in 2005 and share children Darcey Mary Draper, 16, and William Garraway Draper, known as Billy, 13.

Read more: Differences between flu and COVID-19 symptoms ahead of so-called 'twindemic'

"I can't help but think all the people around me, people at GMB and the radio as well, must be fed up to the back teeth, and that is the problem, I think, if you are caring or if you have a long-term situation, that it doesn't go away quickly, the fight goes on," she said.

Responding to Garraway's fears that people are tired of hearing about it, Shephard said, "The really important thing to say is Kate thinks that – and that is not the case. I can understand how you feel like that because it dominates your life."

Most people with COVID-19 feel better within a few days or weeks, making a full recovery in 12 weeks. But for those who experience symptoms for longer, this is known as long COVID, a condition still trying to be understood.

Kate Garraway arrives for the Pride of Britain Awards held at the The Grosvenor House Hotel, London. (Getty Images)
Despite the long wait time, Kate Garraway is grateful to have her husband's appointments booked in. (Getty Images)

Garraway has been motivated, however, to keep speaking out and raise awareness of the effects of the condition.

"I now get contacted every day, which makes me feel less isolated, by genuinely thousands of people saying, 'Please say more because we are struggling'."

Read more: Long COVID: the symptoms, treatment and everything else you need to know

If you're concerned about symptoms four weeks or more after you have had COVID-19 or you think you may have had the virus, contact a GP. Your doctor will ask you about how you have been feeling, the impact on your life, and you might be referred for more tests, eventually talking to you about care and support should you need it.

For more information on symptoms – which include common symptoms as well as problems with memory and concentration, chest pain, difficulty sleeping, heart palpitations, dizziness, depression and anxiety, feeling sick and more – visit the NHS website.

To help you recover from COVID-19, you can also visit the NHS' 'Your COVID Recovery' programme.