Doctor treating record numbers of malnourished patients as food poverty on the rise

Hospital doctors are treating record numbers of malnourished patients – with more than one case every hour.

The latest figures reveal that in the 12 years of Tory rule admissions in England for this condition have almost trebled.

Labour blames the Government for rising food poverty, claiming millions are being pushed below the breadline.

The Food Foundation charity reported last month that four million children were living in homes without adequate access to food.

NHS data revealed in 2021/22 some 10,724 patients were so malnourished they needed hospital care – an increase from 3,773 in 2009/10.

Among the patients were 426 children and young people aged under 20.

The Victorian disease scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency, is also on the rise. Such hospital cases have more than double under the Tories – up from 70 in 2009/10 to 198 last year. The heartbreaking total last year included 22 children aged under 10.

Labour’s Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: “It is a mark of shame for the Conservative Party that 12 years in government has resulted in thousands of people going hungry and even malnourished.

“Dickensian diseases, like scurvy, should have been banished to the history books but are returning. People will be squeezed even further as a consequence of the Conservatives’ kamikaze budget.

“Our serious plan for growth puts working people first.”

Mum-of-two Kelly Thomson told how she has been hospitalised with malnutrition twice after eating just one meal a day so she had enough to feed her kids, aged 14 and 11.

The 43-year-old, from Slough, Berks, has just £40 a week to feed her family and has been forced to take her children’s birthday presents to Cash Converters to get money for food.

The Office for National Statistics has shown the price of budget food in supermarkets rose by 17 per cent in the year to September.

The Food Foundation wants benefits increased in line with inflation and expanding access to free school meals.

The Malnutrition Task Force, which fights the condition in older people, said there is not enough support.

The Department of Health was approached for a comment.