NHS ‘humanitarian crisis’

The Government has dismissed claims from the British Red Cross that hospitals in England are facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

The British Red Cross claimed hospitals and ambulance services are struggling to keep up with the rising demands, following the death of two patients on trolleys in the A&E department of Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said severe problems were limited to ‘one or two hospitals’. Prime Minister Theresa May, has accepted the health service faces ‘huge pressures’, however ‘doesn’t accept the description the Red Cross has made of this’.

Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn has called for Theresa May to make an emergency statement in the House of Commons to explain how she will fix the NHS crisis. He has described the situation as a ‘national scandal’ and said the Prime Minister and Health Secretary must take responsibility.

He said: “The crisis in our NHS is unprecedented. People are lying on trolleys in corridors waiting to be seen. Hospitals have had to close their doors, unable to admit patients. The health service is at breaking point.

“But this crisis is not due to an outbreak of disease. It is a crisis made in Downing Street by this government – a crisis we warned them about.

“The Red Cross announced it is providing humanitarian assistance to NHS trusts that simply do not have the resources to cope.

“This is a national scandal – and Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt have to take both responsibility and urgent action to tackle it.

“I’m grateful to the Red Cross volunteers who have stepped in during this emergency, as well as the hard working NHS staff who are being let down and undermined by this government. But we should not have to rely on the Red Cross to provide the basic care the people of this country need.

“The people of this country need an explanation for the state of emergency in our hospitals, and an account of what action will be taken to end it. The only person who can do that is the Prime Minister. So I am demanding that the Prime Minister comes to the House of Commons on Monday and sets out to the British people how she plans to fix her failure on the NHS.”

Figures from the Nuffield Trust have shown overstretched A&E departments closed their doors to patients over 140 times in December. A third of NHS Trusts in England have also issued alerts that they’re overstretched.

British Red Cross Chief Executive, Mike Adamson, said: “The British Red Cross is on the front line, responding to the humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services across the country.

“We have been called in to support the NHS and help get people home from hospital and free up much needed beds.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “Plans remain in place to deal with additional demands during the winter period, and the public can still play their part using local pharmacy and NHS 111 for medical advice, alongside other services.”

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