Irvine's MP has told of her trip to the Palestine, after a recent visit to provide more medical support to women with Breast Cancer.

Dr Philippa Whitford recently returned from a two-week trip to Gaza and the West Bank to help charities involved in the treatment of Breast Cancer.

During the visit the MP worked in clinics, as well as providing training and support to medical staff within Gaza and East Jerusalem.

This is part of an ongoing project with charity Medical Aid for Palestinians the MP got involved with whilst living in Gaza in 1991-92.

Speaking to the Times Dr Whitford said: “The reason I wanted to try and improve things is almost half of Breast Cancer patients will be turned down to get to Jerusalem for treatment, 45 per cent in August were turned down.

“There is no radiotherapy in Gaza, which is crucial treatment for most cancers particularly breast cancer and normally half get turned down.

“The key point of this project will be trying to develop a vision of breast cancer services and look at what we can help provide in training and mentoring.

“Rather than setting up a new clinic, as things are fragmented enough with various charities it’s about how we bring them all together.”

Describing the area, which has suffered multiple bombing campaigns from the Israeli army in the last decade, Dr Whitford said: “There’s still a lot of damage from the 2014 invasion a lot of buildings not replaced. The main power station is damaged and not repaired because the blockade won’t allow the building materials in.

“The population has almost doubled since I lived there but the Israelis won’t give them permission to repair the damage from 2014. It’s very overcrowded and obviously people can’t travel and can’t get out.

“Because women are really afraid of having a mastectomy what we have is people being afraid to come forward as they think ‘we’ll I’m just going to die anyway’ and ignore it - and it’s awful. There’s a real nihilism about it in Gaza. So when people do come forward they come forward with really advanced cancer.

“Woman have to get treated for breast cancer less destructively and that then will encourage more woman to go.”

Central Ayrshire’s MP also hit out at the UK government over its lack of action to alleviate suffering in the region.

“I first went there and 1991 and I can’t believe we’re actually further from peace. The occupation has gone on and the siege of Gaza has gone on for 10 years and Israel’s occupation is 50 years.

“The UK has a responsibility to try and get a solution. We should be putting a lot more pressure on the Israeli government, particularly with their settlements in the occupied territories. They are illegal we should not be doing business with settlements.”