PRESSURE is mounting on Theresa May as the scale of the “humanitarian crisis” in the NHS become clear, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding an emergency statement in the Commons today.
Concerns escalated when chief executive of the British Red Cross Mike Adamson revealed on Friday that the humanitarian aid charity has deployed staff in hospitals and ambulance trusts across the country as A&E departments were forced to shut their doors.
Though Ms May denied there was a humanitarian crisis in the health service, critics rounded on the government.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey condemned ministers for “crippling funding” and called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign.
He said: “In the world’s sixth-biggest economy, we are now relying on humanitarian aid to look after our elderly and our sick. Hunt has lost the people’s confidence, he must go. Theresa May must act.”
British Medical Association chairman Dr Mark Porter warned that problems in the NHS were reaching dangerous levels, while shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth branded the crisis a “badge of shame” and said that the health service was being pushed to breaking point.
Mr Corbyn demanded that the Prime Minister explain to Parliament how the government planned to deal with the emergency. 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.
“But this crisis is not due to an outbreak of disease. It is a crisis made in Downing Street by this government, a crisis we warned them about.
“This is a national scandal — and Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt have to take both responsibility and urgent action to tackle it.”
He said that hospitals and patients should not have to rely on the British Red Cross. “I am demanding that the Prime Minister comes to the House of Commons on Monday and sets out to the British people how she plans to fix her failure on the NHS,” Mr Corbyn said.
Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public added its voice to the outcry, with spokesman Dr David Wrigley urging the government to raise funding of the health service to the EU average and reverse its piecemeal privatisation.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said the NHS had received an extra £400m to help it cope with additional demand.
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