Sixteen wounded Bosnians to be treated by NHS: Delay blamed on negotiations with ethnic factions

SIXTEEN Bosnians, including half a dozen children, are to be evacuated to Britain for medical treatment on Monday, Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, said yesterday. They will all go to four hospitals in the West Midlands, the Refugee Council said last night.

As officials insisted that delays had been caused by the warring factions in Bosnia, Irma Hadzimuratovic, the six-year-old girl from Sarajevo who has become a symbol of the war, is still in hospital unable to breath for herself.

Irma, who suffered meningitis as a result of the shrapnel that lodged in her back and stomach, is paralysed from the neck down. A spokesman for Great Ormond Street hospital, where Irma has been cared for since she was evacuated, said that her doctors did not know if she would ever be able to breathe without the aid of a ventilator.

The new patients are being evacuated from some of the most fiercely contested areas of central Bosnia, where the aid agencies have constant problems in getting humanitarian aid through to civilians.

Peter Kessler, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Zagreb, said yesterday that the patients would come from Tuzla, Mostar and Novi Bila.

Specialist medical teams have been sent all over central Bosnia to identify patients in genuine need of evacuation and 89 cases have been approved, 43 of them children. They will be evacuated to the US, Italy, Spain and Austria as well as Britain.

Mr Kessler said the patients would probably be evacuated on Tuesday - four days later than planned.

He said the Bosnian Serbs had been demanding licence plate numbers and identification cards from Canadian forces who would be moving some of the patients. Negotiations with other ethnic factions had also been difficult.

All the patients destined for Britain will be transported first to the Croatian port of Split - those from Mostar in ambulances under armoured escort and those from Tuzla and Novi Bila by helicopter. They will then be flown to the air base at Ancona, Italy, where they will join the medical evacuation flight to Britain.

Mrs Bottomley told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: 'Our primary effort must be in providing medical supplies and aid in former Yugoslavia and we are the largest supplier in Bosnia. I am satisfied that these are appropriate patients, children and adults, with very serious injuries and ones where the NHS will be able to provide help.'

Of the eight Bosnian children evacuated to Britain this summer, three, including Irma, remain in hospital. Belma Salaka, aged three, a medical emergency from Saravejo who had meningitis, is receiving rehabilitation care. Adis Avdic, aged five, a war vicitim, is paraplegic and is being treated at Stoke Mandeville hospital.

The Independent's Bosnia Appeal has raised more than pounds 40,000 for 15 charities working there. If you want to support one or more please send a separate cheque for each donation, worded as below, to: Bosnia Appeal, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

1 War Child; 2 Victims of War Appeal (former Yugoslavia) - this for the Red Cross; 3 Care; 4 Cafod (Bosnia); 5 Christian Aid (Bosnia); 6 Edinburgh Direct Aid; 7 Feed the Children; 8 Help the Aged Former Yugoslavia Appeal; 9 Islamic Relief Bosnia Fund; 10 Marie Stopes International (Bosnia); 11 Oxfam; 12 The Refugee Council; 13 Save the Children Fund; 14 Scottish European Aid; 15 UNA Trust Bosnia.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why