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.”
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.