Tag: advocacy

10 things you didn’t know about the Red Cross’ health and social care work in the UK

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From helping people home from hospital to loaning wheelchairs, the British Red Cross does a lot more to promote health and wellbeing in the UK than you might think. In fact, we have been providing health and social care services for around 70 years.

Here are ten things you may not know about our health and social care work in the UK.

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Health and social care crisis: your questions answered

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Older woman being discharged from hospital

There have been lots of stories in the media recently about the pressures faced by hospitals across the UK. During this busy period, the British Red Cross stepped-up some of our existing health and social care services to help. We also pointed out that the health and social care crisis could get worse without urgent action.  

We’ve been listening to the debates and your comments on social media. Here are a few answers to some of the key issues raised.

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The health and social care crisis: Joyce’s story

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Joyce Hall with a Red Cross volunteer who helped her regain her independence after she broke her arm Joyce waited an agonising two days before going to hospital with a badly broken arm. She couldn’t just go to the hospital – she had her younger brother to think about.

As the sole carer for Lenny, who has epilepsy and learning difficulties, she was worried about leaving him alone. He was unable to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and feeding himself.

But after two days of pain she had little choice.

The British Red Cross met Joyce for the first time when she was discharged from the hospital and referred to our support at home service.

We were able to help her not just through her recovery, but find more support for her and Lenny from other services in the long-term too.

But with six consecutive years of budget cuts and an increasing demand on health and social care services, the system in England has become unsustainable. The care people like Joyce and Lenny need, is at risk.

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Don’t stop at 999: ‘If it wasn’t for you, she could have died’

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Natasha applied pressure to an elderly woman's bleeding leg to help stem the flow of blood.

As Natasha headed home after a routine hospital check-up, she spotted a commotion up ahead. At first she couldn’t make out what was happening – then she saw the pool of blood. 

“All I could see from the distance was just this red pool gathering and it was getting bigger and bigger,” Natasha said.

She knew she had to help.

“I don’t know why or what came over me – everyone was flapping and no one was helping. I dropped my bag and ran – I’d say about half a mile down the street!” Natasha said.

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Why ‘bed-blocking’ isn’t the real problem

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A woman lies in a hospital bed

Many patients are fit to leave hospital – but they can’t. Why? Because the right care and support isn’t available for them at home. They find themselves trapped in hospital beds – beds that are needed for new patients.

These people are commonly known as ‘bed-blockers’ – as if they themselves are the problem.

According to BBC analysis of NHS figures released today, more than one in 10 patients in England face long delays for a hospital bed after emergency admission.*

This is an issue. But let’s be clear – it is almost always never the fault of the patient. These delays are caused by pressure on health services and a lack of investment in care services for adults.

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowen could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen off our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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