Holby City ambulance driven to Ukraine by medical consultants
Two Oxford medical experts drove an ambulance donated by a popular BBC show to the Ukraine border to get medical supplies to the front line.
On hearing that BBC’s Holby City Hospital was closing after 23 years, Oxford University Professor of Orthopaedic and Tropical Surgery Chris Lavy got in contact with the director who was happy to donate the programme’s ambulance to Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has continued for the past 103 days.
READ MORE: 100 days: Russia-Ukraine war by the numbers
Professor Lavy had reached out as part of new charities Ambulance Aid and Medical Aid Ukraine, who work with the Ministry of Health in Ukraine to get supplies to where they are most needed in the country.
He and his colleague Oxford University Hospitals consultant anaesthetist Vivian Addy undertook the 1200 mile journey across Europe to get the ambulance to the Poland-Ukraine border over the half term.
The team, in convoy with another ambulance, made it to the secret drop off location in Poland on Monday, May 30.
On what had driven them to undertake this journey, the professor wrote in his blog: “The lives of the UK Ukrainian medical diaspora changed overnight. Their relatives and families back in Ukraine were at risk, and many of their colleagues and school/university mates were suddenly on the front line.
“Thousands were being injured, and all normal supply chains were broken.”
“The UK government supported DEC charity raised millions but only a small part of this went to medical care and the urgent clinical needs of the people, particularly in the east of Ukraine remained enormous. “
The delivery of extra medical aid was described as a ‘godsend’, Professor Lavy saying front-line surgeons have reported back with how the supplies have helped.
He said: “Ours was a small part, supporting a couple of small organisations that are working with many others to help those in need on the front lines in this terrible conflict.
“We made many new friends, and will continue to show the health workers of Ukraine that we are with them in thoughts and prayers at this tragic time for their country.”
Dr Addy said it was ‘amazing’ to hear how the medical supplies they’d delivered were being used, most having been transferred to a children’s hospital, and that the ambulance is already being used on the front line.
On the war in Ukraine, she said: “It’s closer than you realise.
“I’m lucky that my son’s grown up so I have the time to drive an ambulance across Europe, but that’s not something everyone can do. You have to play to your strengths. Everyone can do a little bit to help.”
This story was written by Shosha Adie.
She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.
To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie
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