The UK’s largest independent hospital provider and Boris Johnson have teamed up to launch an urgent Christmas appeal for medical supplies to be sent to Ukrainian hospitals.
The appeal aims to help hospitals that are treating the sick and injured and run the risk of running out of vital items within weeks if they do not receive donations.
On Friday, the former prime minister visited a warehouse in Enfield, north London, where supplies from independent hospital provider Circle Health have been gathered.
He was accompanied by the Ukrainian Ambassador to see first-hand the logistics of transporting hospital kit in bulk across Europe via lorry.
The war in Ukraine has meant hospitals have been pushed to their limits with both supply chains and buildings decimated.
Doctors on the ground have been appealing for urgent assistance and Circle Health has delivered nearly 300 tonnes/£3m worth of medical supplies in 13 lorry loads to hospitals across Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Lviv and Kherson.
As the colder months set in, hospital supplies are once again running dangerously low in several regions.
Professor Rostyslav Smachylo, a specialist hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon from Kharkiv, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of elderly people who stayed in the city but have been injured as a result of the violence taking place around them.
“We lack a lot of equipment needed to cope with the volume of patients we are seeing with particularly complex injuries and conditions. The hospital has also seen windows blown out and structural damage. Knowing that we have allies in Britain and the support of the British stiffens our resolve – we are incredibly grateful, and we ask that you don’t forget us.”
Professor Vadym Shukhtyn, from Odesa Regional Medical Centre, added that medical supplies will only last for “two more months” due to the increasing number of wounded people.
A team of Ukrainian doctors working for Circle Health in the UK liaise directly with medics and inform the company about hospital equipment shortages in real time.
Items are then gathered from Circle Health’s 53 hospitals across every region of the UK, and sorted and loaded at their Enfield warehouse.
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Dedicated employees then volunteer to drive the loads across Europe into the heart of war-torn areas of Ukraine.
Delivered items to date include hundreds of wheelchairs, crutches, scrubs, bandages, ambulances, operating tables, hospital beds, ventilators, anaesthetic machines and prosthetics.
Following the visit, Mr Johnson called upon the Great British public and their “generosity of spirit” asking them to donate to the appeal.
He said: “Not one bandage or bed you fund will go to waste in the Herculean task of rebuilding beautiful, brave Ukraine. Slava Ukraini: the British people stand with you, this Christmas and always.”