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Langworthy medical centre has referred 263 patients to Salford Foodbank since 2014 [Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images].

Recently This Writer was attacked for suggesting that the Conservative Government is committing covert genocide on people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

The claim was that it is entirely wrong to compare what my critic called “controlling benefit expenditure” with genocide.

But here’s the thing: It is precisely the control of benefit expenditure that makes it impossible for some people to take their medicine.

If they can’t take their medicine, they can’t control their illnesses.

If they can’t control their illnesses then, ultimately, they die.

The Tories and their cheerleaders will swear blind that any such death is nothing to do with them.

But who is depriving them of their ability to survive, if not the Tories?

The icy wind outside the Height medical practice in Salford is a clear sign to practice nurse Janice Hussey that she will be sending patients – stuck with the choice of eating or keeping warm – to the local food bank.

More than half of the practice’s 4,000 registered patients are classed by GPs as “very deprived”, with high rates of alcohol and drug problems, social isolation and homelessness. Increasingly, a referral to Salford Foodbank has become more crucial to their care than anything she can offer from her clinical training.

“It’s a life-and-death situation with some patients,” says Hussey. “Some can’t take their medication without food, so they are going without that too because they cannot afford to eat. It drives me up the wall.”

She refers to a man in his 50s who has type 1 diabetes and requires insulin three times a day with carbohydrates. Since he does not necessarily eat even once a day, neither does he take his medication. She is struggling to persuade him to go to the food bank. “For many people, it’s an admission of failure,” she says.

Source: ‘It’s a life or death situation’: why GPs are referring patients to food banks | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian


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