Mr Yousaf has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague to express his concern at the violence on both sides of the conflict, and to ask him to exert pressure on the Israeli Government to end the blockade of Gaza, which the Scottish Government views as collective punishment. The Scottish Government has called for an immediate end to hostilities including a cessation of both rocket attacks and air strikes to de-escalate the situation.
In the letter Mr Yousaf sets out the offer made by Scottish hospitals, and asks Mr Hague to consider doing the same in England.
Should medical evacuation (medevac) of casualties be possible, Scotland’s hospitals will be willing to offer treatment to patients requiring specialist care.
Mr Yousaf said: “We are deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza and the escalating violence on both sides, and particularly the humanitarian impact on civilians.
“Scotland stands ready to offer whatever assistance we can – and it is in that spirit that we make this offer, to give specialist medical help to civilians caught up in the conflict should medical evacuation be possible.
“The Scottish Government also believes that the continuation of the blockade in Gaza is exacerbating the suffering experienced by the people there. For that reason, I have today asked William Hague to exert further pressure on the Israeli Government to bring that blockade to an end.”
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said: “Compassion and the relief of human suffering have been central values of the NHS since its foundation 66 years ago. That is why Scotland stands ready and willing to help the innocent victims of this humanitarian crisis. Should medical evacuation become possible, we will work closely with doctors in Gaza to determine what kind of specialist care we are able to offer.”
Notes To Editors:
The number of casualties brought to Scotland and which facilities they use will be decided according to clinical priority, in discussion with doctors on the ground in Gaza and Scotland.