LONDON: The Red Cross has stepped in to help the NHS in England cope with winter pressures, warning of a “humanitarian crisis” as it emerged two patients died in the same accident and emergency department in the last week. The latest figures show the NHS is coming under increased pressure, with overflowing A&E departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December. On Friday a national body warned that a third of health trusts in England had issued alerts that they needed urgent action to cope last month, with seven of those unable to provide comprehensive care. Meanwhile it was revealed the London Ambulance Service suffered a computer blackout on New Year’s Eve that forced call handlers to revert to pen and paper on the busiest night of the year.
British Red Cross warns of ‘humanitarian crisis’ as it steps in to help NHS
NHS England said plans were in place to deal with demand and urged the public to use pharmacies and NHS 111 for medical advice. However shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said it was “staggering” that the Red Cross had been drafted in to help. “For the Red Cross to brand the situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ should be a badge of shame for Government ministers,” he said. The charity’s chief executive, Mike Adamson, said extra cash was needed for health and social care to make the system sustainable. “The British Red Cross is on the front line, responding to the humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services across the country,” he said. “We have been called in to support the NHS and help get people home from hospital and free up much needed beds.” The charity has already provided support to staff at the East Midlands Ambulance Service across Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Kettering and Northampton. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said on Friday that it was investigating two deaths at Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E department in Worcester in the last week.