Sick Ukrainian mother blocked from UK due to ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ dies before reuniting with son

A sick Ukrainian woman unable to reunite with her son in the UK due to a “bureaucratic nightmare” has died.

Tetiana Lyashko, 60, passed away on 2 June after weeks of feeling “very distressed” about not being able to come to Britain, according to her 37-year-old son Rodion Lyaksho.

Mr Lyaksho had been trying to arrange for her and his father to join him in Peterborough, eastern England, for two months.

His mother had severe lung cancer, which meant she required constant oxygen supply and was bedbound. She and her husband, Oleksandr, 62, were granted visas under the Ukraine Family Scheme at the end of February.

Her son tried to arrange for them to be flown to the UK with access to a ventilator and for his mother to be a local hospital on arrival.

Mr Lyaksho (left) described the UK authorities’ response to his mother’s (middle) situation as ‘too slow, too blind’

But on contacting his local NHS services he said he was constantly referred onto other agencies, and claims none appeared able or willing to help.

As the Russian invasion advanced, his parents fled their home in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa at the end of April, paying for a private ambulance to travel to the city of Iasi in Romania.

They had hoped to travel on to the UK shortly after, but Mr Lyaksho said he faced a “bureaucratic nightmare” as he tried to arrange her transfer from the Romanian health service to a UK hospital.

He added: “It’s like this blind bureaucratic machine, and in our case it was too slow, too blind. The system just ignores you because you don’t fall into a specific procedures.”

North West Anglia NHS foundation trust, supported by the local Clinical Commissioning Group, agreed to receive Ms Lyashko just over a month ago.

But without help from the UK health service to arrange the transfer, the only option was to pay £20,000 for specialised medical transport, which Mr Lyaksho said they “simply don’t have”.

He set up a GoFundMe page in May in a bid to raise the money, but his mother passed away on 2 June after falling into a coma.

“She didn’t suffer, she didn’t feel pain, but she never saw me being there with her. This is what is also very sad to me. I was telling her you’re going to see me soon, but she didn’t,” he said.

“It’s been hell for us […] A perfect storm: war in Ukraine, the fact that they had to leave their own country for my mum had to die in a foreign country, when another place where she has family couldn’t accept her.

“It’s been dreadful – I don’t have the words. She wanted to come here. I was sending her pictures of our home, she was making plans – up until the end.”

The family fled war torn Ukraine

All Ukrainians arriving under the scheme have access NHS healthcare free of charge, but it is not clear how they can be brought to the UK can take place if a refugee is bedbound, and Mr Lyashko has been unable to get this question answered.

The government has been approached for comment.

A spokesperson said previously on being contacted about Ms Lyaksho’s situation: “The UK government has stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and provided them with the lifesaving medical supplies and equipment they need.

“Every arrival is reviewed on a case by case basis.”

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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