The 21 Ukrainian children brought to England for cancer treatment are being cared for at some of the country’s top hospitals.
The youngsters, who arrived in the UK with their families on Sunday evening, are under the care of specialist NHS teams.
They are being treated at seven hospitals:– Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust– University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust– Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust– Bristol Royal Hospital for Children– Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust– Oxford Children’s Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust– Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
A team of doctors, nurses and technicians from Southampton Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust travelled to Poland at the weekend to provide the children with medical support.
The International Organisation for Migration has said more than three million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion.
Dr Michael Griksaitis, a consultant paediatric intensivist at University Hospital Southampton, led the team and has said he was overwhelmed by the “human tragedy” he saw on the ground in Ukraine.
Cancer consultant Dr Martin English led the team from Birmingham who assessed the children and provided clinical advice on their next treatments.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Today is a lifeline for children in the most vulnerable circumstances imaginable.
“It is hard to overstate how much today will mean for the parents, brothers and sisters of these children, as they start the next phase of a hugely traumatic journey to a healthier and safer future.
“Anyone who has experienced cancer knows it is an ordeal for friends and relatives too, so I’m proud that not only have NHS staff been able to put their world-class skill to work to save the lives of these young people, but that, in doing so, my colleagues in the health service are providing hope to our new patients’ families.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “These brave children have overcome unimaginable adversity to make it to England after being forced out of their home country by the Russian invasion.
“I thank the doctors, nurses and technicians who travelled to Poland to evacuate them, and the Polish government for their support.
“These children are now in the safest of hands with NHS staff providing world-class cancer treatment, doing everything they can to support them over the coming days and weeks.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and will remain at the forefront of the humanitarian response.”
The cancer treatment will be provided free of charge by the health service across hospitals in England.
Hospitals in Poland have taken in children needing treatment who have arrived from Ukraine.