Delay In Service from NHS Forces Ukrainian Refugees to Return to Warzone for Medical Care - medtigo



Delay In Service from NHS Forces Ukrainian Refugees to Return to Warzone for Medical Care

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Sasha has had trouble sleeping for weeks. She survived the gunfire and bombs falling on her homeland of Zaporizhzhya, in eastern Ukraine, and arrived in the United Kingdom as a refugee in December, but the war has left her with acute PTSD and anxiety. “On good days, I get three to four hours of sleep, and on terrible days, I don’t sleep at all and feel like I’m going to pass out,” she told CBS News.  

Sasha’s depression and panic attacks prompted her to seek a new prescription for medication through the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom. But, Sasha was placed on a lengthy waiting list for an appointment, and now, despite the ongoing war in her country, she is contemplating an extreme alternative: returning home to receive essential medical care.  

She told CBS News that flying to Ukraine would be faster than waiting for these appointments. Sasha stated, “I come from a place that is pretty volatile in terms of the scale of the fighting you have there, as it is in the extreme east of Ukraine.” Yet, she claimed she might “get an appointment the following day.”  

That is an all-too-familiar tale for some of the estimated 162,700 Ukrainians who have fled their impoverished homeland for Britain.  

Sasha and other Ukrainian refugees who talked with CBS News painted a picture of a swift and resilient Ukrainian health care system that is still able to deliver routine care despite the war, which will enter its second year next week. Yet, they also shed light on the crisis afflicting the treasured but embattled NHS in Britain. For privacy considerations, the migrants all requested to be identified only by their first names.  

Critics assert that the 75-year-old public health service has been plagued by underfunding for more than 12 years under Conservative Party-led governments and that it has come under enormous strain in recent months, struggling to recover from the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic amid staff shortages and a series of labor strikes as public sector workers demand pay increases to help them cope with record-high inflation and a severe cost of living crisis.  

As of December 2022, according to the British Medical Association, a record-breaking 3,1,000,000 patients were waiting over 18 weeks for non-urgent care. According to BMA data, the average wait time for non-urgent treatment is 14 weeks, which is much longer than the median pre-COVID wait time of eight weeks in December 2019.  

Research conducted by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics reveals that in December, more than one in ten internet job postings were in the health care industry – more than in any other sector of the country’s economy.  


Dr. Andrew Meyerson, an emergency room physician, told CBS News in January: “Over the past 15 years, our nurses’ and physicians’ salaries have decreased by 30 percent.” “Half of our hospital is establishing food banks for NHS employees… We simply cannot afford to exist.”  

According to the most recent NHS data, there have been some significant improvements, with people waiting less time for ambulances and obtaining speedier emergency care in January compared to December 2022.  

Olha, another Ukrainian refugee, told CBS News that she had visited home numerous times since the start of the war for medical checkups. “It has become a meme among Ukrainians living in the United Kingdom, but the reality of misdiagnosed diseases owing to lack of access to the National Health Service is frightening,” she said.  

Maiia fled Kyiv shortly after the outbreak of war and sought safety in east London. In December, she experienced “very intense pain simultaneously in my ears, teeth, and near my eye,” and she sought treatment from her local NHS physician.  

She said that despite several tries, she was unable to secure an in-person appointment with a physician. As over-the-counter medicines were ineffective, she opted to visit the emergency hospital because “the pain was unbearable.” She was given additional over-the-counter pills after a four-hour wait, despite stressing to personnel that she had already tried them. They were still ineffective.  

Maiia praised the fact that Britain’s universal health care system is open to all and free at the point of care, including herself and other refugees. Nonetheless, she “determined that the best alternative would be to go to Ukraine and visit the doctors there.”  

Maiia was referred to a local dentist after a perilous voyage to Ukraine, driving from Poland to Kyiv. The dentist swiftly recognized the issue. Pulpitis, a disorder in which the internal tissue of a tooth becomes inflamed, was the source of the pain. A dentist from Ukraine pulled her tooth nearly quickly. 


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