Healthcare organisations write letter to PM urging action as Gaza death toll exceeds 17,000

Credit: AP

A number of organisations representing health care professionals in the UK have written a letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the government to do more to end fighting in Gaza and support the civilian population.

Groups including the British Islamic Medical Association, the British Arab Nursing and Midwifery Association, and the NHS Muslim Women's Network signed the letter.

The letter comes as the Hamas controlled Health Ministry in Gaza said that 17,700 people have been killed and almost 50,000 injured since Israeli operations began in the enclave following the terror attacks of October 7th, which killed at least 1,200 Israelis.

In the letter shared with ITV News healthcare organisations urged the government to "pursue an immediate cessation of hostilities and establishment of a political process as an alternative to military action," arguing that there had been as "significant escalation of the rate of fatalities in the Gaza strip" since the resumption of fighting after a pause on December the 1st.

Aid agencies say Gaza's critical infrastructure has been devastated by the fighting. Credit: AP

They also push the PM to support efforts to ensure drinking water provision and restore critical infrastructure, highlighting the danger of both water shortages and communicable disease.

The letter concludes "as parents, as grandparents, as citizens and as human beings, we are witnessing  one of the most rapid scales of death and destruction to this region in generations."

On Friday night the UK abstained on a UN Security Council resolution to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The US vetoed it, saying the resolution did not condemn the actions of Hamas on October 7th.

UK ambassador to the UN Dame Barbara Woodward said Britain backs “further and longer pauses” to get aid to Palestinians and to allow the release of Israeli hostages.

But she argued to the council that “we cannot vote in favour of a resolution which does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians” on October 7th.

“Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage," she added.

Organisations who signed the letter include: the Association of Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe, British Arab Nursing and Midwifery Association, Pre Hospital Aid Initiative, Medact, British Egyptian Medical Association (BEMA), APNA NHS - Asian Professional National Alliance, Health Workers for Palestine (HW4P), Muslim Doctors Cymru, PalMed Europe & PalMed UK, Muslim Doctors Association & Allied Health Professionals CIC, NHS Muslim Women’s Network, British Islamic Medical Association and Association of Pakistani Physicians & Surgeons of UK.

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