Red Cross asked to help over ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the NHS

The emergency care system is said to be "on its knees"

Red Cross asked to help over ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the NHS

NHS logo| Image: PA images

The charity has warned of a "humanitarian crisis" as NHS staff warned that the emergency care system is "on its knees".

Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said "We have been called in to support the NHS and help get people home from hospital and free up much-needed beds."

They said they have already helped staff at the East Midlands Ambulance Service across Nottingham, Leicester, Kettering, Northampton and Lincoln.

Mr 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."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also said it was "staggering" that the Red Cross had been called on to help.

"For the Red Cross to brand the situation a 'humanitarian crisis' should be a badge of shame for Government ministers."

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the emergency care system was "on its knees", leaving staff "struggling to cope with the intense demands being put upon them.

He continued by saying "The scale of the crisis affecting emergency care systems has reached new heights, as we predicted, mainly due to a lack of investment in both social and acute health care beds, as well as emergency department staffing."

Between 1 December and 1 January, there were 143 A&E diverts across England - a 63% rise on the 88 recorded for 1 December to 3 January the previous year.

Diverts occur when an A&E department cannot cope with any more patients so people are sent to a different.