A TEAM of NHS medics from University Hospital Southampton have flown to Poland to help Ukrainian children suffering from cancer.

Nine doctors, nurses and technicians from Southampton Children’s Hospital paediatric critical care teams travelled to Poland on Sunday, March 13 to evacuate 21 Ukrainian children suffering from cancer and fly them to England for treatment.

The youngsters were all being treated in Ukrainian hospitals when Russia invaded the country.

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Dr Michael Griksaitis, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist at University Hospital Southampton, led the team.

He said: "This has been the most amazing and emotional experience the team and I have ever had. The families were so incredibly grateful.

"We were just so pleased to do something to help and delighted it has all gone so well so far.

“But I am acutely aware that there are so many other people who have been left behind to suffer the ongoing trauma this war is causing.

“We took over care of the children from a team of cancer specialists from the St Jude’s Charity who did a fantastic job in looking after them during their harrowing journey out of Ukraine, where they had to spend every night in a bomb shelter."

Daily Echo: University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust staff members University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust staff members

Speaking about the decision to travel to Poland, Dr Griksaitis added: "Everyone at UHS was so desperate to help in whatever way they could.

"We had a very quick turnaround preparing bespoke bags of kit and gathering all the spare intensive care unit equipment that we have in Southampton because we had no real idea of what we might find when we landed.

"Getting the children and their families back to the UK so they can continue with vital treatment and receive whatever further medical help they might need, was the absolute priority."

David French, chief executive officer at University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, said: "It has been heart-rending to hear of the plight of these very sick children, caught up in this conflict.

"I and everyone at UHS is incredibly proud of the team involved in this humanitarian mission and everyone who has supported them to make it a success."