NHS denies Red Cross claims there is a Humanitarian Crisis in UK hospitals inviting student accusations of probity-ringing by the left-wing
A major row has broken out between the NHS and the Red Cross after the charity described the overcrowding in Britain’s A&E units as a “humanitarian crisis” inviting claims by students of misrepresentation of the facts and a case of probity-ringing by somebody in order to make the NHS and the Government look bad.
Theresa May has stated that the Red Cross is irresponsible in making these claims
Health officials have hit back at the claims saying the NHS was wrongly being likened to a war zone.
Chair of the health select committee, Sarah Wollaston MP, said: “There is a crisis in social care provision but the term ‘humanitarian crisis’ is too strong.
“This is not equivalent to Syria or Yemen.”
There is a crisis in social care provision but the term ‘humanitarian crisis’ is too strong. This is not equivalent to Syria or Yemen
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) January 7, 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded Theresa May comes to the Commons on Monday to explain the “scandal” in the English health and social care system.
On Saturday the Telegraph revealed NHS hospitals have been trying to “spin” their way out of the growing winter crisis after a leaked memo revealed managers are being instructed to play down the scale of the problem and avoid using language such as “black alert” – the phrase used to denote the most serious level of emergency.
It comes as the Red Cross’ chief executive, Mike Adamson, said extra cash was needed for health and social care to make the system sustainable after its volunteers have been forced to step in and help the NHS cope.
“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.”
New figures show that the week ending on January 1 saw a 34 per cent rise in A&E attendances and a 19 per cent rise in emergency admissions, compared with the same period last year.
Last week A&E departments were so overwhelmed that they were forced to divert ambulances on 42 occasions – more than twice the figure for the same week the previous year.
Despite this Keith Willett, director of acute care for NHS England, has rejected Mr Adamson’s description of the situation.
He said that “on the international scale of a humanitarian crisis, I do not think the NHS is at that point” but accept there was an issue with regards to moving people through hospital.
“Clearly, demand is at the highest level ever,” he added.
“But also our planning is probably more comprehensive than it has ever been.
“In many ways this is a level of pressure we have not seen before and the workload that the NHS is being asked to shoulder in terms of medical treatment and personal care is very high.
“There are several reasons for that. There is the winter and many more people have breathing and heart problems, but we know it is also very difficult at the moment and social care and community services are not able to react fast enough to free up beds to keep up the flow through hospitals.”
Last week two patients died on trolleys in Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E department and the latest figures show overflowing emergency departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December.
Last month more than a third of health trusts in England issued alerts that they needed urgent action to cope, with seven of those unable to provide comprehensive care
BMA head Dr Mark Porter said: “This intervention from the Red Cross highlights the enormous pressure the NHS is currently facing as conditions in hospitals across the country are reaching a dangerous level.
“The Government should be ashamed that it has got to the point where volunteers have been necessary to ease the burden.
“The devastating consequences of the lack of commitment to funding for health and social care have become all too apparent and patients are enduring one of the worst winters on record.
“Staff are working flat-out in extremely difficult conditions.
“The Government must take responsibility for the patients whose care and safety is being put at risk and urgently get to grips with this crisis situation.”
Mr Corbyn has demanded a statement from the Prime Minister when Parliament returns from its Christmas break.
“This is a national scandal – and Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt have to take both responsibility and urgent action to tackle it,” 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.”
Mr Hunt has not spoken publicly on the issue despite repeated requests for comment and former health minister Norman Lamb urged him to come out of “hiding”.
The Liberal Democrat said: “Jeremy Hunt must stop hiding and announce immediate measures to alleviate this crisis, including emergency funding to plug gaps across services that are putting patient safety at risk.
“This Government should be ashamed. It ignored calls for extra cash to support health and care services through the winter, and now it is patients who are paying the price.”