Oxford doctor looks to help Ukrainian health service after 'heartbreaking' visit

Hospice Ukraine will support doctors in Ukraine <i>(Image: Dr Rachel Clarke)</i>
Hospice Ukraine will support doctors in Ukraine (Image: Dr Rachel Clarke)

An Oxford doctor has set up a new charity to support palliative care in Ukraine after visiting the war-torn country.

Dr Rachel Clarke and Dr Henry Marsh set up the charity after visiting Ukraine last October to teach and train medical students and palliative care doctors.

The new UK-registered charity, Hospice Ukraine aim to support healthcare professionals in Ukraine to provide comfort, dignity and palliative care for people in need at the end of life.

To donate to the charity see its website here:

Oxford Mail: Sambir soldiers
Oxford Mail: Sambir soldiers

Sambir soldiers (Image: Dr Rachel Clark)

Dr Clarke said it was “immediately apparent” the health services in Ukraine are in need of support.

She said: “We had an extraordinary time there, starting in Lviv in the east where we met palliative care doctors at Sambir Hospice.

“It was immediately apparent that the conditions of war are overwhelming health services all across Ukraine.

“In Sambir, in the east, there were a huge number of displaced people from the conflict zones in the east, putting huge pressure on the hospice.

"Staff were even treating casualties from the frontlines who had sustained terminal injuries in the conflict.

“It was heartbreaking to see how the conditions of war were affecting every part of the country. Bombs sometimes even fall on Lviv.

“Then we travel by night train to Kyiv, intending to do more teaching there - but a huge missile attack coincided with our train pulling into Kyiv station and we were caught up in the attack, spending the day in a bomb shelter. “

A charity launch event will be hosted by Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel at the Royal Society of Medicine on June 6. The event will include live Ukrainian music, a drinks reception and an auction which will include a piece of original work donated by Grayson Perry.

To get tickets to the event see it's event web page here:

The charity launch was announced by Dr Clarke at the WIRED Health conference in London.

She added: “All this made us determined to try to do something to help those in Ukraine providing palliative care to patients.

“It has taken months to sort out all the logistics of setting up a registered charity. I am overjoyed we have launched it today!

“The funds we raise will help local palliative care teams on the ground in Ukraine and it feels wonderful to be able to support a population going through such agonies of war.”