The number of adults and children treated in NHS hospitals for diseases associated with hunger and malnutrition has almost trebled under the Tories, according to media reports.
Figures released by government while MPs are on holiday, seemingly in the hope they would not be spotted, reveal that the number of malnutrition cases treated by the NHS increased from 2,893 in 2009 to reach a staggering 8,537 cases in 2018.
This includes 320 children, up from 202 cases in 2009.
It is caused by a severe deficiency of protein in a persons diet, with one of the most noticeable signs being a bloated stomach.
If left untreated, Kwashiorkor can lead to permanent physical and mental disability, coma, shock, and eventually death.
Responding to the figures, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “These disgraceful increases in malnutrition are a devastating verdict on Tory cuts, austerity and rising poverty.
“It’s unforgivable so many children suffer from malnutrition and ministers should be ashamed.”
“Tackling poverty and deprivation will be Labour’s priority”, he added.
The UK’s largest food bank network Trussell Trust provided a record 1.6 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, a 19% increase on the previous year. This included more than half a million children.
The nationwide charity blamed Universal Credit for leaving households without the financial means to feed themselves adequately.
Meanwhile, figures release last Friday reveal that the NHS are only spending £3 a day on meals per patient, as the government promised to carry out a review of hospital food.
Mr Ashworth said: “Matt Hancock (Health and Social Care Secretary) promised this review months ago and incompetence is why it has taken so long to be launched.
“Years of austerity mean that some hospitals are only spending close to £3 per patient a day on meals for patients – it’s an utter disgrace.
“Labour will invest in hospital catering, enforce mandatory minimum standards and bring catering back in-house.”
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