Refugee family return to Kyiv for urgent dental care due to lengthy NHS wait
A seven-year-old Ukrainian girl and her mother have told how they had to return to Kyiv from Aberdeenshire due to lengthy waiting lists for NHS dental treatment.
Oksana Martirosova decided to take daughter Lisa back to Ukraine despite the ongoing war as she urgently needed teeth removed under general anaesthetic.
The family have been living in Scotland since September.
In January, it emerged that another Ukrainian refugee returned to Kyiv for treatment because the wait to see a GP in Scotland was so long.
READ MORE: Top doctor warns general practice heading for 'two-tier' system 'like dentistry'
Ukraine’s head of consulate in Edinburgh has also warned that refugees have been forced to go elsewhere in Europe for dental treatment.
Ms Martirosova, who returned from Kyiv with Lisa earlier this week, spoke about their ordeal to the Press & Journal newspaper.
She said: “Lisa’s pain was terrible, she couldn’t wait several months on antibiotics.
“She was really afraid and trembling, and every day I had to give her painkillers.”
Returning to Kyiv required a flight to Poland followed by a 15-hour bus journey.
She continued: “In our country, this would be an emergency and you would go to the hospital the same day or the next day, not after several months.
“It is crazy because this can lead to very difficult problems.
“I don’t know how people with small children live with this problem.
“The doctors are good here, but it is bad because of the queues.”
Labour MSP Michael Marra, who helped the family obtain visas for the UK last year, blamed Health Secretary Humza Yousaf – who is currently running for the SNP leadership – for the lengthy waits.
GET THE LATEST HERALD SUBSCRIPTION OFFER: Subscriptions from HeraldScotland
He said: “Humza Yousaf’s disastrous stewardship of the NHS has created a desperate situation for far too many.
“It is simply astounding that refugees have had to return to a war-torn country for medical treatment.
“Astronomical wait times have forced people to the extremes in order to get the treatment they urgently need. This case may be unusual but every week we hear more and more stories of people pushed to the brink to get the treatment they need.
“Mr Yousaf’s abysmal track record will follow him wherever he goes next. He has wreaked havoc on every post he has held in Government.
“He cannot be allowed to fail upwards and wreak havoc on the entire country.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The health and welfare of all displaced Ukrainians remains a priority.
“However, the challenges the NHS is facing are not unique to Scotland and are being felt across the rest of the UK.
“The Scottish Government remains focused on supporting services to address and alleviate these pressures and we are working to clear the backlog of planned care appointments caused by the pandemic.”