NHS faces ‘humanitarian crisis’ as demand rises, British Red Cross warns

The NHS is facing a “humanitarian crisis” as hospitals and ambulance services struggle to keep up with rising demand, the British Red Cross has said, following the deaths of two patients after long waits on trolleys in hospital corridors.

Worcestershire Royal hospital launched an investigation on Friday into the deaths and did not deny reports that they had occurred after long waits on trolleys in corridors over the new year period.

On Friday, doctors’ leaders said more patients could die because of the chaos engulfing the NHS.

The deaths prompted claims that the health service was “broken”, and long waits for care, chronic bed shortages and staff shortages were leading towards what the head of Britain’s A&E doctors called “untold patient misery”.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said his organisation was “on the front line”. He said: [We are] 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. This means deploying our team of emergency volunteers and even calling on our partner Land Rover to lend vehicles to transport patients and get the system moving.”

It is believed that one woman died of a heart attack after waiting for 35 hours on a trolley in a corridor, and another man suffered an aneurysm while on a trolley, and could not be saved.

It is also believed that another patient was found hanged on a ward at the Worcestershire Royal hospital, which admitted that it was under serious pressure, partly as a result of the extra strain hospitals face during winter. The deaths are said to have happened between New Year’s Day and 3 January.

Full story in The Guardian 6 January 2017