Brighton nurses describe 'shocking' suffering in Greek refugee camp

Royal Sussex County Hospital nurses volunteered at Idomeni camp in Greece

A team of British nurses have described the ‘shocking level of human suffering’ they witnessed at one of Europe’s largest refugee camps.

Refugee camp

Critical care nurses Lucy Pitt, Claire Cox and Kat Thomas from Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital have returned from volunteering at Idomeni camp in Greece. The camp, close to the Macedonian border, has been home at any one time to up to 14,000 people fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Refugee camp

Ms Pitt recalls how she and fellow volunteers treated 500 people a day, dispensing pain relief and antibiotics from the back of a single ambulance. Many refugees developed chest infections as a result of the cold and wet conditions, while women gave birth in tents without medical support, she says.

‘We simply were not prepared for what we saw,’ admits Ms Pitt. 'As senior members of the intensive care unit team we have all experienced difficult situations and trauma, but this was shocking. 

'The people we met were the same as us – middle-class, educated people. We met doctors, lawyers, nurses, civil engineers.’

The nurses are due to give a talk about their experiences tomorrow (Thursday) at the University of Brighton, where they studied.