Libyan battle victims to be treated in UK

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The Independent Online

Libyan civilians who suffered battle wounds are being flown to the UK for care.

Two men who suffered gunshot wounds in the battle for Misrata will today become the latest Libyan civilians to be flown to the UK for treatment.

The men, aged 29 and 46, are due to fly from Tunisia to Norwich International Airport by the end of today to receive specialist surgery and rehabilitation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

A total of 50 Libyan civilian patients are to be cared for by the NHS at the request of the Libyan Government, which will cover all costs.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that by the end of today 27 Libyan civilians will have been admitted to care across the UK.

Alistair Burt, foreign and commonwealth minister for the Middle East and North Africa, said: "During the Prime Minister's visit to Libya last month, the new Libyan authorities asked for our help in treating 50 Libyans who had been seriously injured during the conflict.

"Following the visit, the NHS sent a medical team to Tripoli to work with the Libyans to identify those who would benefit most from UK specialist expertise.

"So far more than 25 Libyan nationals have arrived in the UK for treatment. These include individuals affected by gunshot and shrapnel wounds and with severe burns.

"We expect more patients to arrive in the UK over the next week. I am proud of our excellent National Health Service and the fact that we have the expertise and compassion to help those in need."

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he was proud that the NHS was able to help in this way.

He added: "The expertise of our NHS staff is second to none in many respects, and I know that as well as helping our own NHS patients every day, many of them are also giving world leading care to help patients in need from abroad."

By the end of today patients will have been admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge; Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool; Frenchay Hospital, Bristol; James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough; John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford; Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital; Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham; Royal Derby Hospital; Royal London Hospital; Royal Liverpool University Hospital; Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton; Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle; St Mary's Hospital, London; and University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool.

Professor Krishna Sethia, medical director at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: "As a specialist centre for orthopaedic, plastic and reconstructive surgery we were asked if we could offer our support and we are very pleased to be able to help provide this humanitarian medical assistance.

"The patients are both stable despite their injuries and will be individually assessed by our clinical teams later today.

"It is expected they will be with us for a number of weeks as they will require clinically complex treatment from a range of our highly skilled medical, nursing and therapy staff.

"We are delighted that we can offer the high quality care that we provide the local population to help patients from Libya who have suffered such terrible injuries."