West Midlands Ambulance Service help Ukrainian children brought to England for cancer treatment
Twenty-one Ukrainian children will receive life-saving cancer treatment in England after being brought over by the UK government with the support of Polish authorities and clinicians.
The 21 children and their immediate family members landed in England on Sunday 13th March from Poland and will be triaged by NHS clinicians to understand their health needs before being sent to NHS hospitals in England to continue their care.
West Midlands Ambulance Service were part of the mission, with over 50 staff members involved in the operation at Birmingham airport on Sunday. They said: “We are incredibly proud to have been part of the NHS mission to bring 21 Ukrainian children who needed cancer treatment to the UK.
“Our staff from both our non-emergency patient transport service and the emergency side transported the children and their family members to a triage centre and then on to their final destination. Incredible team work from so many NHS staff to get it all sorted so quickly.”
The vital and in many cases lifesaving cancer treatment will be provided free of charge by the health service across hospitals in England.
Hospitals in Poland have taken in many children needing healthcare who have arrived from Ukraine. With more children crossing the border requiring immediate treatment, the UK has responded to Poland’s call for support from international partners to provide additional care.
The UK partnered with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a non-profit American organisation which specialises in paediatric diseases, to arrange an urgent flight for the children.
The Department of Health and Social Care has collaborated with the Department for Transport, Home Office, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to facilitate the transfer of the children from Poland to the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The sickening suffering of innocent civilians in Ukraine is truly horrific. This vital lifesaving medical care is another important step in our support for the people of Ukraine and their resistance against Putin’s illegal invasion.
“I am hugely grateful to our fantastic NHS staff as well as our partners, including our Polish friends, for their support in bringing these children to the UK and we will continue to do all we can to support them as they continue their critical treatment here.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am appalled by the atrocities we’ve seen in Ukraine and the despicable attacks being carried out on innocent civilians.
“I am proud that the UK is offering lifesaving medical care to these Ukrainian children, who have been forced out of their home country by the Russian invasion while undergoing medical treatment.
“I know that the incredible staff in the NHS will ensure they get the best possible care. I am hugely grateful to our partners and our Polish friends for their support in bringing these children to the UK.
“We stand together with the people of Ukraine and will continue to do all we can to help them.”
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The situation in Ukraine is deeply shocking and saddening, and the NHS will continue to help in any way we can, whether that is by working with government to provide medical supplies directly to Ukraine, or in this instance, by making sure these children with life-threatening cancers get the crucial treatment they need.
“It is fantastic that colleagues at paediatric hospitals around the country have gone above and beyond to help these children during their greatest hour of need and I would like to thank the NHS staff, volunteers, charities and other partners involved who have come together to make this happen at breakneck speed.”