NHS England has today (Saturday) announced that a team of NHS doctors and nurses are on their way to help the hundreds of people affected by the deepening crisis in Gaza.
The first 14-strong team will be made up of surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and paramedics from the specialities of emergency medicine, orthopaedic trauma and plastic surgery and will be assisting with the humanitarian effort by providing treatment to those most severely injured by the crisis.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for NHS England, said: “The NHS has a long and proud history of providing expert care to those affected by crisis around the world. Our expert teams will be treating hundreds of those injured on the ground. However we have made arrangements for the most severely injured children to be brought to the UK to be treated at one of the 16 trauma centres in England.
“These centres lead the world in paediatric trauma care, treating over 10,000 children and young people each year. In the first instance, we are offering to treat some of the most severely injured youngsters, who need complex reconstruction surgery, burns treatment and other very intensive procedures.“
The NHS team will initially be based with Medical Aid for Palestinians at the Al Mokassed Hospital in East Jerusalem until access to Gaza is possible.
The 14 specialists will co-ordinate with local health authorities, charities, the UN and Red Crescent already operating in the area to assist with the humanitarian effort.
Professor Keogh went on to say, “I would like to thank those who are going to the region to help, but I would also like to extend my gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses and paramedics who have cancelled leave and changed their holiday plans to allow their colleagues to do this most important, life-saving work.”
There are 110,000 doctors in the health service and NHS England, together with UK Med and local hospitals, have put plans in place to ensure patient care in England will not be affected. All of the clinicians being deployed are listed in the UK International Emergency Trauma Register.
Tony Redmond of UK Med said: “Any doctors or nurses wanting to volunteer in the coming weeks should register at www.uk-med.org. But it is important to remember that we can’t share expertise and save lives abroad without those doctors and nurses who put their own plans on hold to volunteer to cover for colleagues out in the field.”