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Hungry Patients Begging GPs For Food Bank Vouchers

January 27, 2014

Hungry families are pleading with doctors to give them the nod to use food banks.

GP surgeries are said to be at breaking point with queues of desperate patients booking appointments to claim vouchers.

Doctors – along with social workers, health visitors and social organisations – are allowed to refer people who need rations .

Experts warned yesterday that the scramble is the latest sign of a “public health emergency” as hard-up families struggle to put food on the table.

And they say the rising number of those seeking food handouts is stretching resources to the limit.

Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctors Association and a GP in Swindon, Wilts, said: “How are we supposed to know whether someone is, what in Dickensian terms you might call the ‘deserving poor’, and who is basically a scrounger just trying to a get a free meal out of the system? It is putting GPs in an impossible position.”

Lancashire GP Dr Claire Rushton, vice chair of the association, added: “We’re so busy already I don’t know how we are going to find the time to see all these other patients.”

She revealed: “I had one who asked for a food bank referral because she was on low income. l don’t know how much money she had, but how could I have said no? So I signed it.”

Another GP told medical magazine Pulse how he simply wrote on one referral note: “My patient tells me he is hungry, and I have no reason to  disbelieve him.” Many GPs are unaware food banks are referring people until they walk through the surgery doors. The Trussell Trust provides vouchers for emergency food supplies to last three days.

A record 350,000 families received help from the charity last year and demand is expected to soar over the next 12 months.

Trust director Adrian Curtis said: “If GPs feel uncomfortable about referring clients they can refer them to another organisation.”

More than 500,000 people had been referred to food banks in the UK by December 2013.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2014 12:38 pm

    what I struggle with with this artical is the word “deserving poor” in what context would you define deserving from poor ? this properganda sneeks in every crack dosnt it?

  2. Judith Robinson permalink
    January 28, 2014 12:09 pm

    Starve the government for a few weeks see how they like it! Prisoners are treat better at least they get food!

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