The EU says it has successfully coordinated 1,000 medical evacuations of Ukrainian patients via its civil protection mechanism to provide them with specialised healthcare in hospitals across Europe.
As the number of wounded people in Ukraine increases day by day, local hospitals are struggling to keep up with the demand.
At the same time, Poland, Moldova and Slovakia have requested support for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operations from their respective countries given the large inflow of people.
To relieve pressure on local hospitals, since 11 March, the EU has been coordinating patient transfers to other European countries who have available hospital capacity.
The patients have been transferred to 18 countries: Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Lithuania, Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Recent operations include the transfer of 2 patients to Czech Republic on 3 August and 15 patients evacuated to Germany, 4 patients to the Netherlands and 2 patients to Norway on 4 August.
Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “Russia’s unjustified war in Ukraine is driving Ukrainian health systems to breaking point. To help Ukraine cope with the skyrocketing medical needs, the EU has stepped up its operations.”
“On top of delivering medicines and medical equipment to Ukraine via our Civil Protection Mechanism, we are also coordinating medical evacuations. 1000 Ukrainian patients have been transferred to hospitals in 18 European countries. I want to thank all countries who are welcoming the Ukrainian patients in this critical time. EU solidarity saves lives.”
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said: “From day one, the EU has been working tirelessly to support Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia’s brutal military aggression. As part of this, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has allowed patients in urgent need of treatment and care to receive it in hospitals across the EU, while relieving pressure on the healthcare systems of Ukraine’s neighbouring countries. This is true European solidarity in action. Together with Ukrainian authorities, we are also looking into ways to bring patients back home when they have finished their treatment, if they choose to do so. This lifesaving work will continue, as will the EU’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine”.
The medical evacuations are financially and operationally supported by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The MEDEVAC transfer scheme supports the transfer of patients that fulfil the eligibility criteria, be they chronically ill or wounded by the war.
The mechanism enables the Commission to report to the Ukrainian authorities where in the EU/EEA countries the patients have been transferred. For a secure transfer of patient data, the patients’ health records are shared using the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).