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Government grant funds new Red Cross schemes to help ease pressure on hospitals

5 February 2015

The government has today announced £1.2m in additional funding to further support A&E departments during the busy winter months.


  • £1.2m grant will help hospitals deal with increasing demand
  • Nearly 700 additional volunteers will be on hand to support 10,000 patients
  • Funding will boost existing services and help implement new ones



29 NHS trusts will work with charity partners, including the British Red Cross, on projects to improve support for patients, including preventing hospital admissions among older people and giving enhanced follow up support after people have been discharged.


The Red Cross has decades of experience in health and social care services and already runs A&E based services in 26 hospitals in addition to over 100 home from hospital services.


Responding to increased pressure on hospitals this winter the British Red Cross will use the £500,000 grant to position volunteers and staff at hospitals in 17 areas including Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, part of the Heart of England Trust, until the end of March.


The programmes are designed to help vulnerable people, including older people living alone who don’t have robust support networks. Teams make sure the people they help are comfortable and settled at home, and follow up with them in the days afterwards, reducing the likelihood that they will be readmitted unnecessarily.


The funding will increase support to existing hospital-based services as well as new schemes to help people get home from hospital faster.


Existing services at Imperial College and King’s College hospitals in London and Peterborough and Weston hospitals and Shrewsbury and Telford hospital will see existing services boosted, while new initiatives will be launched with the Mid Essex NHS Trust and Aintree University hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

British Red Cross chief executive, Mike Adamson added: “The British Red Cross is pleased to be working with the NHS to increase the voluntary sector’s support to the country’s most pressured accident and emergency departments.

“We believe the voluntary sector has an important role to play in easing pressure on NHS services and helping older, vulnerable patients regain skills and confidence to live independently in their own homes.

“We have decades of experience in health and social care work and this 12-week trial will further demonstrate the value we can bring in building people’s resilience to crisis, increasing patient flow through the system, and reducing the burden on hospitals. We hope this trial will lead to further investment in, and partnership with, the third sector so we can help even more people to live independently.”

Health Minister Lord Howe said:

“The NHS has worked with expert charities including Age UK, British Red Cross and the Royal Voluntary Service for decades to make sure patients get specialist extra support when they most need it. Around 700 volunteers will help mostly older patients once they leave hospital as part of this £1.2m project, which is on top of the record £700m that the Government has provided for 700 more doctors, 4500 more nurses and 5000 more beds.   
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Notes to editors

For more information, or to arrange an interview or discuss case studies and filming opportunities, please contact Lucy Keating on or 0207 877 7095.


The Red Cross will working with 17 out of the 29 trusts, including: Aintree, Barts Health Trust, County Durham/Darlington, East Cheshire, Heart of England, Hull, Imperial College Healthcare Trust (London), Kings College Hospital Trust, Mid Essex, Oxford University Hospital Trust, Peterborough, Shrewsbury and Telford, Taunton & Somerset, North Bristol Trust, Weston, Worcestershire, Yeovil.


Around 700 volunteers will help mostly older patients as they leave hospital as part of the £1.5m project.


This funding is on top of the record £700m that the Government has provided for 700 more doctors, 4,500 more nurses and 5,000 more beds.



The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.



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