Long COVID is a devastating, long-term, debilitating illness which disproportionately affects healthcare workers, due to the nature of their work. There is currently limited evidence specific to healthcare workers about the experience of living with Long COVID, or its prevalence, pattern of recovery or impact on healthcare.


Our objective was to assess the effects of Long COVID among healthcare workers and its impact on health status, working lives, personal circumstances, and use of health service resources.


We conducted a systematic rapid review according to current methodological standards and reported it in adherence to the PRISMA 2020 and ENTREQ statements.


We searched relevant electronic databases and identified 3770 articles of which two studies providing qualitative evidence and 28 survey studies providing quantitative evidence were eligible. Thematic analysis of the two qualitative studies identified five themes: uncertainty about symptoms, difficulty accessing services, importance of being listened to and supported, patient versus professional identity and suggestions to improve communication and services for people with Long COVID. Common long-term symptoms in the survey studies included fatigue, headache, loss of taste and/or smell, breathlessness, dyspnoea, difficulty concentrating, depression and anxiety.


Healthcare workers struggled with their dual identity (patient/doctor) and felt dismissed or not taken seriously by their doctors. Our findings are in line with those in the literature showing that there are barriers to healthcare professionals accessing healthcare and highlighting the challenges of receiving care due to their professional role. A more representative approach in Long COVID research is needed to reflect the diverse nature of healthcare staff and their occupations. This rapid review was conducted using robust methods with the codicil that the pace of research into Long COVID may mean relevant evidence was not identified.


Copyright: © 2024 Cruickshank et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Cruickshank, M., Brazzelli, M., Manson, P., Torrance, N. & Grant, A. 2024, 'What is the impact of long-term COVID-19 on workers in healthcare settings? A rapid systematic review of current evidence', PLoS ONE, 19(3), article no: e0299743. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0299743

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Last updated: 29 March 2024
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