Refugee schoolgirl returned to Ukraine for dental care after NHS wait

Seven-year-old Lisa Martirosova was forced to return to Ukraine from Aberdeenshire as she urgently needed teeth removed.

Refugee schoolgirl returned to Ukraine from Aberdeenshire to have tooth removed after NHS wait iStock

A seven-year-old Ukrainian child travelled back to her war-torn home country to have teeth removed due to lengthy waiting lists for NHS dental treatment, it has been claimed.

Lisa, who has been living in Scotland since September, returned to Ukraine from Aberdeenshire despite the ongoing war as she urgently needed teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

Oksana Martirosova, Lisa’s mother, revealed her child’s pain was “terrible” and the only option for urgent dental treatment was to fly to Poland before a 15-hour bus journey to Kyiv.

She said: “She was really afraid and trembling, and every day I had to give her painkillers.

“Lisa’s pain was terrible, she couldn’t wait several months on antibiotics.

“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.”

Lisa’s journey back to her homeland for medical care follows a similar case in January, where it emerged that another refugee returned to Kyiv for treatment for a thyroid condition because the wait to see a GP in Scotland was so long.

Labour MSP Michael Marra, who helped the family obtain visas for the UK last year, said it was “astounding” that refugees were “returning to a war-torn country for medical treatment”.

He blamed health secretary Humza Yousaf – who is currently running for the SNP leadership – for the lengthy waits.

The MSP said: “It is simply astounding that refugees have had to return to a war-torn country for medical treatment.

“Humza Yousaf’s disastrous stewardship of the NHS has created a desperate situation for far too many.

“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.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “This story is absolutely disgraceful.

“A country that has been devastated by the impact of Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion appears to offer better dental provision than Scotland’s NHS under Humza Yousaf.

“It is a scandal that a brave Ukrainian refugee and her family felt they had no option but to return to their war-torn homeland just to secure a dental appointment.

“Dentistry is in crisis on Humza Yousaf’s watch. We saw this week how barely a fifth of NHS dentists have returned to pre-pandemic levels and the sector is facing an exodus of dentists leaving the profession.

“Rural areas like Aberdeenshire are particularly paying the price for his inaction and now a brave young refugee who made that area her home has been impacted too.

“Humza Yousaf should urgently apologise to Lisa and her family for them being forced to return to a warzone, and finally support dentistry in Scotland’s NHS once and for all.”

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