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The People So Hungry They End Up In Hospital

November 14, 2013

Food campaigners have warned of a poverty time bomb as the number of malnutrition cases at Greater Manchester hospitals surge.

Nearly 400 men, women, and children across Greater Manchester required hospital care last year care due to a lack of food or poor diet.

The figures has more than doubled in four years, up from just 158 cases in 2008.

Poverty groups believe soaring bills, unemployment, and punishing welfare reforms could be forcing households to slash their food bills – meaning some residents are starving themselves to keep a roof over their heads.

The largest increase was in Bolton, where 70 patients were admitted suffering from malnutrition last year, compared to just 10. And in Trafford, 40 people were seen, up from just nine.

The number of cases in Manchester went up to 66, from 37 in 2008.

The figures also include some people who were diagnosed with eating disorders as a primary diagnosis, although these are understood to make up a minority of the cases.

Other cases could potentially include the possible neglect of children or older people in care.

But campaigners say they are seeing a number of cases of people going hungry and suggested wider social factors could be to blame for the hike.

Joey Ferrigno, manager of Manchester Central Foodbank, told the M.E.N: “One man we saw had not eaten for two days because he wanted to save his money for travel.

“Some people who tell us they haven’t eaten are visibly very worn out. They are emotionally a bit fragile because hunger is such a powerful thing. It can make people ill. It can make people depressed.”

Across England, the figures showed a massive spike in hospital malnutrition cases over the last four years.

Just 3,161 people were treated in English hospitals for malnutrition in 2008. But last year the figure was 5,499.

The figures, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, were collected by primary care trusts, which were abolished last year as part of a huge NHS shake-up.

Responsibility for public health matters has now fallen to local councils who say they are promoting healthy eating through numerous initiatives, including breakfast clubs and services for young families.

Health officials at Manchester Council say they are beginning to turn the tide through school programmes and healthy eating schemes at nurseries and Sure Start centres.

Malcolm Clark, from the Children’s Food Campaign, said help could also come in the form of a new government pledge to provide free school meals for every children aged five to seven, starting from September 2014.

But he added: “We work with breakfast clubs across the country who tell us there are children coming into school hungry.

“There is definitely also an issue to do with access to quality and nutritious food. Quite a few people have had to cut their food bills. They are buying a lot less, and the food they are buying is much less nutritious.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2013 7:46 pm

    its called us and them we in it but not them they cook the books to show alls well but really its all falling down around them the lies mount daily but until those 99percent who aint rich do something about them more the same to come jeff3

  2. November 14, 2013 9:26 pm

    Some of us are fighting!

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