A consultant at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has been providing emergency relief as part of a UK Government tasked response to the recent earthquake near Gaziantep, Turkey.
Dr Simon Struthers, who works as a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and at Andover War Memorial Hospital, was among an initial emergency response team of 30 professionals led by front-line medical aid charity UK-Med, who reached the city just three days after the devastating earthquake struck.
UK-Med operates as an independent emergency response charity and as a lead partner in the UK Emergency Medical Team, the government’s response to a humanitarian crisis.
The group, including Dr Struthers and other health professionals including surgeons and paramedics, together worked to provide life-saving aid in a field hospital with its own infrastructure, medication, supplies and water sanitation, all set up by UK-Med.
Simon spent just under a month treating those who had suffered injuries from the earthquake, those who were formerly receiving care in the city’s hospital as well as seeing to first responders needing assessment.
Colleagues at HHFT, with support from the trust, worked together to ensure Simon’s shifts were covered for weeks ahead at the Winchester and Andover hospitals to enable his release for the response.
Simon forms part of UK-Med’s register of over 1000 NHS and international doctors, nurses, paramedics, logisticians and other allied non-health professionals who are highly skilled in emergency work – a register that exists to provide an on-call system for emergency global health relief.
Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We’re incredibly proud of Simon and the role he played in providing medical care in these disastrous circumstances.
“We are very supportive of our colleagues who are part of emergency response aid registers and initiatives. If the time comes that a colleague is called upon, as it sadly did, we make every effort to ensure they are able to be released efficiently to support a vital, rapid response. We are grateful to Simon’s colleagues for their help with this.”
UK-Med CEO David Wightwick who led the charity’s response to the February earthquake says Dr Struthers and his colleagues helped save lives in Turkey.
“Without the support of Simon and his colleagues UK-Med could not perform its life-saving work. Simon selflessly put up his hand to support in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. He worked in difficult circumstances to help those in need. We’re grateful to him and all our health and non-health staff who give up their time to aid people affected by war and disaster.”