HEALTH and Social Care Secretary and county MP Sajid Javid has praised the NHS’ partners and Polish friends for their support in bringing 21 Ukrainian children who need life-saving cancer treatment to the UK.
Mr Javid said he was appalled by the atrocities in Ukraine and the ‘despicable attacks being carried out on innocent civilians’.
Over the weekend he slammed the Russian forces for their unacceptable strikes on hospitals and other healthcare settings.
He added: “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.”
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 to facilitate the transfer of the children from Poland to the UK.
The 21 children and their immediate family members landed in England this evening 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.
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.”
The intervention is part of the government’s wider humanitarian response to the Ukraine conflict with more than 650,000 medical items already delivered to Ukraine.
The UK Government was heavily criticised last week for the amount of time it was taking to sort out visas for Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn countries.
Britain had taken only processed a few hundred of the 14,000 applications which had been submitted whereas the figures for some European countries was already in the thousands.