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Return of “Dickensian” diseases in the cost of living crisis UK News

Labor has warned that the spiraling cost of living crisis will lead to an increase in ‘Dickensian diseases’ such as malnutrition, gout and scurvy.

It comes as provisional NHS figures show 5,156 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between September 2021 and February 2022 – more than in the whole of 2010.

Figures from HES England also reveal that other so-called ‘Dickensian diseases’ have increased since 2010, including a 194% rise in gout cases in hospitals between 2010/11 and 2020/21.

There were almost 192,000 cases of gout recorded in hospitals in England in 2020/21. The condition is usually caused by poor diet.

Cases of scurvy – a vitamin C deficiency – have more than doubled over the past decade.

MP Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s shadow public health minister, said the latest figures were “shameful”.

He said: “Since the election of the Conservatives in 2010, we have seen food bank use soar and increased poverty leading to worsening public health outcomes.

“We are currently in the midst of a cost of living crisis, with skyrocketing inflation and workers facing the heaviest tax burden since the 1940s.

“If people can’t afford to heat their homes or put food on the table, they’re more likely to get sick.”

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation estimated that the Chancellor’s spring statement could push an additional 1.3 million people below the poverty line, leading to increased fears of food and nutrition-related disease.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was supporting the NHS ‘to tackle some of the major root causes of malnutrition’ and that more than three million children are being cared for by the programs government healthy food.

A government spokesperson said: ‘We understand how the rising cost of living is making life harder for people and we are providing support worth over £22billion in 2022-2023 for help families cope with these pressures.

“The Health and Social Care Secretary has made it clear that tackling health disparities is a priority. Our white paper on health disparities will present a series of impactful measures to help people live longer and happier lives in good physical and mental health.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-18 16:00:00

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