Ukrainian NHS doctor says he wakes up every day ‘wondering if my loved ones are still alive’

Vladyslav Vovk, 26, who works as a doctor in the North East of England, talks to NationalWorld about his concerns for his family back in Ukraine

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A Ukrainian NHS doctor has said he wakes up every morning and “wonders if the loved ones I have in Ukraine are still alive”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, with millions of refugees leaving the country to seek safety as Vladimir Putin’s war rages on.

Vladyslav Vovk, 26, who was born in Ukraine, is a foundation doctor based in the North East of England.

Although he moved to the UK at a young age with his parents, Maryia and Oleksander, who both work as mental health support workers in the NHS, many of his family are still in Ukraine.

Concerns for family in Ukraine

This includes his cousin, Anna, who works as a doctor in a children’s hospital in Kyiv, which has recently moved to Lviv in the west of the country.

Some of the children with cancer who were recently moved to receive NHS treatment in England were from this hospital.

Vladyslav said that Anna “wants to stay in the country and help those who so desperately need it”.

Another cousin, Oksana, who lived in Kyiv with her partner and six month old baby, have all moved to Germany and “are in the process of applying to move to the UK”.

He said this process “has been very challenging indeed, with significant amounts of paperwork and a complex process”.

Vladyslav’s grandmother, Olga, who struggles with arthritis, lives in a small town in the west of Ukraine called Rohatyn, with his uncle living on a farm nearby.

Although Vladyslav said his grandmother’s home “seems safe for now” he added that he worries about the support she has and how the country will be able to support her.

‘Anyone in Ukraine is under attack from Russia’

Addressing the situation in his home country, Vladyslav said: “It is difficult to put into words how I feel. I am very worried.

“Russia has proved they are willing to strike anywhere and anyone – the recent attacks on civilian areas near to the Polish border show that anyone in the country is under attack.”

Vladyslav is also part of the Medical Aid Ukraine North East Group, which works with NHS trusts to supply medical equipment and supplies for people in need in Ukraine.

He said his involvement was “by pure chance”, after spotting the group on Facebook.

The group has already raised a lot of money, with Vladyslav’s own trust - North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust - having raised more than £6,000 for the cause.

It has also sent “a truck full of supplies to be delivered to the Polish-Ukrainian border,” Vladyslav says.

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