'Dickensian diseases’ to rise as a result of cost-of-living, warns Labour
Joe Talora Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: PA
Scurvy and malnutrition are among the “Dickensian diseases” Labour has warned will rise as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
Official figures show rates of malnutrition, gout and scurvy have been on the increase when comparing recent stats to those from a decade ago.
Provisional NHS numbers detail how 5,156 people were admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of malnutrition between September 2021 and February 2022, which is more than during the whole of 2010.
Data shared by Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) England also demonstrates an increase in rates of “Dickensian diseases” such as gout, which is up 194 per cent in hospitals from 2010/11 to 2020/21, and scurvy, cases of which have more than doubled over the last 10 years.
The hikes are being reported at the same time as people are struggling with the current cost-of-living crisis, which Labour warns will only lead to further instances of such diseases.
This comes amid Archant's recently launched our Your Money Matters campaign, offering practical advice to help people as they grapple with the surge in the cost of living.
MP Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s shadow public health minister, said: “Since the Tories were elected back in 2010, we have seen foodbank use soar and increased poverty leading to worse public health outcomes.
“We are now living through a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation skyrocketing and working people being hit with the biggest tax burden since the 1940s.
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“If people can’t afford to heat their homes or put food on the table, they are more likely to get sick.”
Concerns of diet and nutrition-related illnesses were compounded by recent analysis by the Resolution Foundation, which estimated chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement could result in a further 1.3 million people falling below the poverty line.
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 £22 billion in 2022 to 2023 to help families with these pressures.
“The health and social care secretary has been clear that tackling health disparities is a priority.
"Our health disparities white paper will set out a series of impactful measures to help people live longer and happier lives in good physical and mental health.”