South Tyneside doctor leads effort to send ambulances to the frontline of the Ukrainian conflict
A Ukrainian doctor at South Tyneside District Hospital is leading efforts to deliver former ambulances and other vehicles from the North East to the war-torn country.
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Anatoliy Telpov, a Ukrainian doctor who works in the emergency department at South Tyneside District Hospital, has been playing a key role in delivering former ambulances and other vehicles to his home country.
Dr Telpov, who is from Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in the west of Ukraine, was a key member of a group who drove the fleet close to the Ukrainian border.
His efforts follow on from his NHS colleague, Kelley Storey, who works for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and a private ambulance company, who have previously sent an ambulance to the country after supporters donated funds to buy the vehicle.
Dr Telpov has been able to work with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and FSNE Medical, an independent ambulance company, to donate two decommissioned ambulances and a Land Rover from NEAS.
FSNE Medical also donated a 4x4 and provided funds to pay for fuel and food for the journey.
Dr Telpov was helped by Harry Clark, who works for NEAS, and FSNE Medical team members James Redshaw, Katharine Sayer and Stephen Aitken to take the vehicles across mainland Europe and deliver them to Ukrainian military representatives.
Simarnam Singh, who also works as a doctor alongside Dr Telpov, and his friends and family from the Sikh Temple GKMRHK in South Shields, sponsored ferry travel, hotels and return flights for the team.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette on Ukrainian Independance Day (August 24), Dr Telpov highlighted what the support means to those fighting on the frontline.
He said: “The war is going on everyday so we can’t stop supporting those on the frontline, we need to keep supporting to save lives.
“There is a lot of blast injuries on the frontline and people are losing limbs.
“With these types of injuries, every minute counts and the 4x4 vehicles allow injured soldiers to be removed from the frontline and receive medical support very quickly.
“Many countries have an independance day but for us, it has a bigger meaning now as we are fighting for our freedom, for our children and for whether our country will exist or not.
“Russia will never stop and there will never be peace while Russian soldiers are in the country so we have to keep supporting everyone in Ukraine.”
Since being delivered to Ukraine, the vehicles have undergone checks and have been resprayed to make them suitable for the frontline.
Now Dr Telpov is seeking out more 4x4 vehicles and quad bikes to send over in the next wave of donations.
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He is hoping to raise more funds and gather together as many donated vehicles as possible to send over to Ukraine.
He added: “Everyone who has left Ukraine since the start of the war hasn’t just sat around being safe, they are all trying to help support the war effort in the country.
“I decided to help in the field that I know best so have been gathering medical supplies but the demand for medical support vehicles is very high.
“They must be 4x4 vehicles or else they will be no good on the frontline so things like jeeps or quad bikes are so important.
“It is going to take a lot of time, which is something that we don’t have but I’m currently carrying out inquiries to secure around 20 quad bikes.
“I am contributing whatever money I can but we need sponsors to cover the cost of buying the vehicles and transporting them to the country.”
Anyone interested in donating funds can donate via the GoFundMe campaign https://gofund.me/6f85e7e2 and contact Dr Telpov through the page.