The UK, which has already contributed over £17 million to help those affected by the conflict in Gaza, has activated its International Emergency Trauma Register to deploy a world class team of NHS staff directly to the region within the next 48 hours to help treat hundreds of those affected by the crisis.
Announcing the package, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
The conflict in Gaza has taken a terrible toll. The UK has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to help those affected and it is right that we see what more we can do. The NHS has always stepped up to the plate to help those in need and this expert team will play a crucial role in helping hundreds caught up in this conflict.
The initial team will be made up of a combination of doctors, nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists and paramedics from the specialties of emergency medicine, orthopaedic trauma surgery and plastic surgery.
They will initially be based with Medical Aid for Palestinians at Al Mokassed hospital, East Jerusalem. Once access to Gaza becomes possible, UK medics will then move there, with UK charities UK Med, Save the Children and Medical Action for Palestine facilitating this operation. The medics will co-ordinate with local health authorities, charities, the UN and Red Crescent, and other international medical teams. Medics will also explore whether there is need for them to assist elsewhere in the region.
Although the team’s primary objective will be to treat people in the region, as part of our commitment to the wider international humanitarian effort we are considering how we can best support those vulnerable people, especially children in need of highly complex treatment that is unavailable in the region including with specialist capabilities in the UK.
The UK has 16 expert trauma centres in England alone, with world-class expertise in paediatric trauma care. These centres provide complex reconstruction surgery, which often requires multiple operations over time, as well as burns treatment and other very intensive procedures.