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Exeter MP challenges Health Secretary over hospital crisis

Credit: PA

As hospitals come under huge pressure due to the winter beds crisis, Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has challenged the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about what he describes as the chronic long term underperformance of hospitals.

The Labour MP cites the example of Derriford Hospital which called in the Red Cross - more commonly associated with disaster aid overseas but also offers a 'Support at Home' service in the community.

  • WATCH: the full House of Commons exchange between Ben Bradshaw and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

The Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust says the British Red Cross has expanded its usual Support at Home Service, which is funded by Plymouth City Council, to help relieve pressure on Derriford Hospital and community services.

Sam Snelling, Independent Living operations manager at the Red Cross says:

“Having Red Cross staff members based at the hospital means we can rapidly respond to requests for support from hospital staff.

"That could be transporting patients home ourselves, or arranging for one of our volunteers to meet a patient at their home to make sure they have everything they need. We have boosted our service to provide as much support as possible.”

The Red Cross workers help the transition from hospital to home, freeing up beds on wards Credit: PA

Once patients are settled in, Red Cross volunteers make regular visits as they recuperate. This smoothes the process of settling back into a normal routine, enabling people to regain their confidence and independence much sooner.

Our experience shows us that where more vulnerable patients are supported at the point of leaving hospital, it helps free up beds, helps NHS staff, and helps the patient in their recovery at home.

Recovery doesn’t stop at the hospital doors – recognising this, and giving people the help they need to get home means they’re less likely to return again through the front doors of A&E.

– Sam Snelling, Red Cross

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