21 Ukrainian children will receive lifesaving cancer treatment in England after being brought over by the UK government with the support of Polish authorities and clinicians.

The 21 children and their immediate family members landed in England last night (Sunday) from Poland and will be triaged by NHS clinicians to understand their health needs before being sent to NHS hospitals in England to continue their care.

The vital and in many cases lifesaving cancer treatment will be provided free of charge by the health service across hospitals in England.

Hospitals in Poland have taken in many children needing healthcare who have arrived from Ukraine. With more children crossing the border requiring immediate treatment, the UK has responded to Poland’s call for support from international partners to provide additional care.

The UK partnered with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a non-profit American organisation which specialises in paediatric diseases, to arrange an urgent flight for the children.

The Department of Health and Social Care has collaborated with the Department for Transport, Home Office, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to facilitate the transfer of the children from Poland to the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The sickening suffering of innocent civilians in Ukraine is truly horrific. This vital lifesaving medical care is another important step in our support for the people of Ukraine and their resistance against Putin’s illegal invasion.

I am hugely grateful to our fantastic NHS staff as well as our partners, including our Polish friends, for their support in bringing these children to the UK and we will continue to do all we can to support them as they continue their critical treatment here.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

I am appalled by the atrocities we’ve seen in Ukraine and the despicable attacks being carried out on innocent civilians.

I am proud that the UK is offering lifesaving medical care to these Ukrainian children, who have been forced out of their home country by the Russian invasion while undergoing medical treatment.

I know that the incredible staff in the NHS will ensure they get the best possible care. I am hugely grateful to our partners and our Polish friends for their support in bringing these children to the UK.

We stand together with the people of Ukraine and will continue to do all we can to help them.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said:

The situation in Ukraine is deeply shocking and saddening, and the NHS will continue to help in any way we can, whether that is by working with Government to provide medical supplies directly to Ukraine, or in this instance, by making sure these children with life-threatening cancers get the crucial treatment they need.

It is fantastic that colleagues at paediatric hospitals around the country have gone above and beyond to help these children during their greatest hour of need and I would like to thank the NHS staff, volunteers, charities and other partners involved who have come together to make this happen at breakneck speed.

The UK is at the forefront of the humanitarian response to Ukraine. The government has already sent seven aircraft to the region to deliver more than 650,000 medical items, including wound care packs, equipment for intensive care and vital medicines.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

Russia’s assault on the innocent people of Ukraine is reprehensible and barbaric. Working with our partners in the region we continue to be at the forefront of the joint humanitarian effort to provide the best medical care and support for these children and their families.

In addition, the UK has pledged approximately £400 million in humanitarian aid and funds to bolster the Ukrainian economy and reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas – making the UK the second biggest bilateral humanitarian donor behind the US.

The UK response so far includes:

  • matching funding of £25 million in public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine humanitarian appeal;
  • providing humanitarian expertise including NHS-staffed Emergency Medical Teams, logistical support which is currently leading the charge on getting medical supplies into Ukraine, UK teams on the ground assessing needs and providing support; the option to draw on the UK Armed Forces to support NATO countries with humanitarian pressures;
  • providing defensive military aid to Ukraine, continuing to work with international partners to supply defensive weaponry to the Ukrainian Armed Forces;
  • coordinating with partners on sanctions aimed at starving the Russian government of funds to further its unprovoked war against Ukraine, imposing wide-ranging sanctions on Russian businesses, banks and individuals, including a joint decision by all G7 countries to remove Russian banks from the SWIFT system, in addition to our existing sanctions;
  • On 7 March 02022, FCDO announced an additional £100 million of humanitarian assistance, taking the total UK offer of support to the Ukraine crisis to £394 million. This total includes:
    • £220 million humanitarian assistance – used to save lives, protect vulnerable people inside the country and in the wider region.
    • £100 million of ODA – to bolster the Ukrainian economy and reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas imports.
    • and £74 million announced on 7 March 2022 – for the Ukrainian government budget to mitigate financial pressures created by Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion.


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