Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has been accused of hiding over Red Cross claims that overstretched and underfunded NHS hospitals in England were facing a “humanitarian crisis.”
The charity called for an emergency cash injection to help hospitals cope.
The Independent on Saturday contacted the Department of Health for a comment over what the Red Cross had called for. They were told that they were leaving it to NHS England, to speak to the press. NHS England oversees the NHS on a day to day basis but is not a governmental body.
The last press release from Mr Hunt’s department dates from last year. So far, there are no reports that the Department of Health has requested additional funds in relation to the winter crisis.
Justin Madders, Labour’s shadow health minister, said, “For the Health Secretary to remain silent as this crisis unfolds represents either a complete denial of reality or utter embarrassment that this has happened on his watch.
“Jeremy Hunt cannot say that he wasn’t warned that this crisis was coming. Every major health organisation has been warning for months that the NHS was heading for disaster unless it got more funding.
“He has decided to ignore those warnings and we are now seeing a meltdown in our NHS that he is refusing to acknowledge. Patients the staff and the public deserve better.
“Jeremy Hunt should urgently come up with a plan and resources to match to end the crisis.”
While Liberal Democrats’ shadow health secretary, Norman Lamb said, “This Government should be ashamed. It ignored calls for extra cash to support health and care services through the winter, and now it is patients who are paying the price.
“Jeremy Hunt must stop hiding and announce immediate measures to alleviate this crisis, including emergency funding to plug gaps across services that are putting patient safety at risk.
“The truth is that the Prime Minister and Chancellor are failing to provide the investment needed to deliver an effective, modern health and care system.
“The Government must also finally agree to work cross-party to secure future of the NHS and social care in our country, so we don’t keep just going from crisis to crisis but find a long-term and sustainable settlement.”