Ukrainian and Lithuanian doctors among North East NHS staff launching medical supplies campaign for Ukraine
A group of NHS staff have launched a campaign to send much-needed medical supplies to Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
NHS staff across the region have pulled together to create Medical Aid Ukraine North East in an effort to deliver medical supplies to the war-torn country as the fight with Russia continues.
Karolis Rozanas, a 37-year-old from Lithuania who is a foundation year 2 doctor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, co-founded the group with Katarzyna Kostrzewa, a 35-year-old surgical trainee with Health Education England North East.
He said: "We were asked by some friends in Poland to see if we could send across some medical supplies from the UK as they are setting up field hospitals so we contacted a few trusts and got some more doctors involved.
"We’ve got a community in crisis evolving in front of our eyes, I’m a doctor and people are approaching us for help so we are in the right position with access to medical supplies.
"We know who to contact and my local Trust have given a warehouse and know who to contact to get the supplies.
"The response has been brilliant, I’m really proud of everyone involved and would still encourage others to also get involved."
Ukrainian-born Vlad Vovk, a foundation 2 doctor working at North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who has family and friends still in the country, gave an insight into how he is feeling since war broke out with Russia on February 24.
The 26-year-old added: “One of my cousins is on the front line, I haven’t been able to make contact with him so I don’t know whether he is still alive or not.
"Another is in Kyiv at the moment, she works in a children’s hospital with cancer patients and they are being nursed in basements, corridors and it is a real concern that the hospital gets shelled.
"It took me a couple of days for everything to sink in, I felt like this was some sort of film and not real life.
"My parents felt much the same, my dad has been hit really hard by it and he was crying for a really long time.”
Anthony Robson, managing director for QE Facilities, is helping the group to store supplies and prepare them to be shipped to Ukraine.
He commented: “We’ve got a whole load of medical supplies and equipment which have been donated by the NHS across the region and beyond.
"We’re going to prepare that for transportation over to Ukraine and it is an effort by the NHS family in the North East.
"It is extremely moving that we’ve had such a great response in a short period of time.
"There is a lot of battlefield dressings and medical equipment here, things that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in such large quantities but they will help both civilians and the military.
"I never thought I’d see something like this in my lifetime in Europe and I think everybody is so downhearted by the whole thing, the shock of it affects us all.”